Nets show what they can do, defeat Heat
by Jeff Zillgitt, USA TODAY Sports
NEW YORK – Speed and versatility outlasting size and strength is the formula the Miami Heat have mastered for the better part of three seasons.
While Miami won the championship in 2012 and 2013, contenders built rosters designed to hammer the Heat.
That’s what the Brooklyn Nets did in the offseason, accumulating size, strength and depth and a $102 million payroll and more than $80 million additional in luxury taxes.
By acquiring Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Andrei Kirilenko, Jason Terry and Shaun Livingston and putting them alongside Deron Williams, Joe Johnson and Brook Lopez, the Nets want to win now.
Question is, how long will it take for the Nets to find the right chemistry needed to outlast not only Miami, but the Indiana Pacers, Chicago Bulls and the New York Knicks, all of whom have a shot at reaching the Eastern Conference finals?
After the Nets lost to the Cleveland Cavaliers, the answer was later rather than sooner.
But after the Nets defeated the Heat 101-100 on Friday in Brooklyn, maybe the answer is sooner rather than later. That would certainly please Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov who watched his high-priced team from his luxury suite.
“We knew playing at home (and) coming from Cleveland that we would play better,” Garnett said. “We watched a lot of film of our mistakes, so we were locked into what we wanted to do and we played with that in mind through the whole game. … I thought we played strong and played to the end, and as you saw, it was a great game.”
The start of the NBA season is spinning fantastically and wildly. The Heat are 1-2, have lost consecutive games for the first time since January and under .500 in the LeBron James-Dwyane Wade-Chris Bosh era for the first time since their first season together in 2010-11 when Miami lost its season opener to the Boston Celtics.
The Philadelphia 76ers and Phoenix Suns – two teams projected to tank – are 2-0. The season isn’t a week old, and unexpected storylines have emerged, including a modicum of concern shrouding the Heat.
Despite a self-proclaimed dedicated offseason and strong … [For more on Nets show what they can be this season in win over Heat, click here.]