On Tuesday night, the Brooklyn Nets will face the Miami Heat for the fourth time this season. The Nets have won the first three regular season meeting and could complete the season sweep on Tuesday night.
Nets’ small forward Paul Pierce and shooting guard Joe Johnson combined for 39 points, 19 apiece, to lead their team to a 101-100 victory. Pierce told the Associated Press, displayed on ESPN.com, how ecstatic he was about beating the Heat.
It was good that we got a taste of this type of atmosphere this early in the season to try to see where we’re at,” Pierce said. “Miami, whenever they come into town, they’re a measuring stick for everybody, so it was good for us to come out and get the win.”
The Nets’ victory, gave the Heat, the two-time defending NBA Champions, their first losing streak since January, according to ESPN.com. This would not be the only time the Nets were victorious against the Heat this season.
By the time the two teams met again, Jan. 10, the Heat had a much better record than the Nets.
The Heat had improved from the 1-2 record succeeding the Nov. 1 loss to a 27-9 record by Jan. 10. Entering their rematch against the Nets, the Heat had won 11 of their previous 14 games.
The Nets had struggled mightily to start the season, but by Jan. 10 they were slowly starting to turn it around.
After a defeat to the Chicago Bulls on Christmas Day, Dec. 25, the Nets’ record fell to 9-19. It appeared that all of the hype surrounding the Nets during the preseason was blown out of proportion.
Following that Dec. 25 defeat, the Nets went on a good run. They won five of their next seven games, to improve their record to 14-21, and they appeared to be on their way to turning their season around.
On Jan. 10, the two ‘hot’ teams met again in a much-anticipated game.
Livingston scored two baskets and blocked two shots in the second overtime to help lead his team to a thrilling victory. He finished the game with 19 points, a career-high 11 rebounds and five assists in 51 minutes.
This victory was especially impressive for the Nets because they had recently defeat the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Golden State Warriors. Livingston told the Associated Press, as displayed on ESPN.com, how big of a win it was for his team.
It was huge,” Livingston said. “We’ve obviously been playing better as of late. I think our momentum that we were carrying into this game, we’re trying to ride that wave.”
Succeeding this victory, the Nets continued their winning ways by the time these teams faced each other again; March 12.
They went on to win 17 of their next 26 games improving their record to 32-30. This not only helped them stay in contention for a playoff berth, but it also gave them a chance at having home court advantage in the first round.
The Heat only continued to get more dominant as the season progressed.
By the time they faced the Nets again, they had improved their record to 44-18. They appeared on their way to being at worst the second-best team in the Eastern Conference.
Heat small forward LeBron James had begun to put together a good enough season to challenge Oklahoma City Thunder small forward Kevin Durant, the presumed season-long frontrunner, for this season’s MVP award. James had a chance to improve on his MVP-caliber season as the Heat faced the Nets for the third time this season.
On March 12, the Heat and the Nets met for the third time this season. The game was not as thrilling as the double overtime game, but it went down to the wire.
The Heat had a chance to win the game on the final play, but Livingston force a turnover. This sealed a 96-95 victory for the Nets and their third victory of the season against the Heat.
Very few teams have been able to defeat the Heat in three consecutive games since James and center Chris Bosh joined Dwyane Wade in South Beach in 2010. The only other teams that had been able to do that, according to Elias Sports Bureauwas the Chicago Bulls and the Boston Celtics, twice, as reported by Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPNNewYork.com.
Pierce scored 17 of his 29 points in the third quarter to help lead his team to a victory against the Heat. Nets’ head coach Jason Kidd told the Associated Press, as displayed on ESPN.com, that his team had not achieved much success yet against the Heat.
“We haven’t had any success,” Kidd said of Brooklyn’s perfect mark against the Heat. “We’ve just been lucky to win some games.”
This was the Nets’ third highly competitive victory against the Heat. They had now defeated the Heat by one point twice and the other game was not decided until the second overtime.
The Nets improved their impressive calendar year record to 23-9 with their victory. Their 23-9 record this calendar year was superior to every other team in their conference; Eastern Conference, as displayed on ESPN.com.
With the playoffs fast approaching, both teams are fighting for positioning in the Eastern Conference.
The Heat enter Tuesday night’s game with the best record in the Eastern Conference at 53-23. With six regular season games remaining for the Heat, they lead the second-place Indiana Pacers, 53-25, by one game.
Every game is crucial for the Heat if they hope to have homecourt advantage for the overwhelming majority of the playoffs. Every game is also crucial for the Nets.
The Nets enter Tuesday night’s game with the fifth-best record in the Eastern Conference at 42-34. They also have six regular season games remaining, but they are battling multiple teams for positioning.
The Toronto Raptors, the third-best record in the conference at 45-32, and the Charlotte Bobcats, the seventh-best record in the conference at 39-38, are only separated by six games. The Nets only lead the Bobcats by three-and-a-half games.
Every Eastern Conference team appears poised to try to avoid a first-round matchup with the Heat or the Pacers. Avoiding the seventh or eighth-best record in the conference would assure a particular team that they would not have to face the Heat or Pacers in the playoffs until at least the second round.
A Nets’ victory against the Heat on Tuesday night would most likely be enough to avoid a matchup with either team. That Nets’ victory would make them the first team to sweep a season series against the Heat since the 2007-2008 season.
Pierce could also make some ‘minor’ history during that game.
He has had a fantastic career that has made him, at worst, a borderline future Hall of Famer. He enters Tuesday night’s game with 24,981 career points.
If he is able to score 19 points on Tuesday night, then he would become the 18th player in NBA History with at least 25,000 career points, according to Youngmisuk.
It is possible that on Tuesday night NBA fans will be treated to two great accomplishments occurring. At the end of the day, Pierce and the Nets are more interested in winning than anything else.