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NBA Playoffs: Nets Vs. Heat Preview

Sean Burch |
May 6, 2014 | 11:40 a.m. PDT

Staff Writer

Defensive ace Paul Pierce’s series saving block on Kyle Lowry helped the Nets advance past the Raptors on Sunday and set up their second round matchup with the defending champs. And the Nets should be excited about playing the Heat, right? They swept all four games during the regular season, including a win last month in Miami where Mason Plumlee blocked LeBron at the end of regulation while wearing a “Plums” jersey.  The Nets must have Miami’s number.

Can Paul Pierce lead the Nets past the reigning king? (Getty Images)
Can Paul Pierce lead the Nets past the reigning king? (Getty Images)

Eh, I’m not buying it. The Heat lost three times by a single point to Brooklyn this season, and the other loss came in double overtime. Dwayne Wade sat out two of those games. And after three straight trips to the Finals, Miami mailed in most of the regular season anyway. After trouncing the Bobcats in four games in the opening round, Miami looks like they’re in full early 2000s Lakers “flip the switch” mode. 

The Heat have not only the best player in the world on their team, but the second and third best players in the series as well. (Don’t be fooled by Bosh being a walking meme, he’s still better than anyone on Brooklyn.) Brooklyn has the deeper team, but that isn’t as important in the playoffs when rotations get smaller. Still, Brooklyn has the ability to throw several funky lineups at the Heat, which is part of the reason they were able to win all four games during the regular season. And even though Jason Kidd has started to find his bearings as a coach, Erik Spoelstra versus Kidd in a coaching matchup is almost as unfair as Kidd playing Spoelstra in 1-on-1.

While the Nets matchup relatively well with the Heat talent-wise, it’s hard to see where they will find clear advantages. Both squads are horrible at rebounding, with the Nets ranked 29th and the Heat ranked 30th overall in the league. Then, on paper you would think Deron Williams versus Mario Chalmers would be something the Nets would want to exploit, but it’s not 2010. Williams averaged 17 points and over 5 assists against the Raptors, but his speed is gone and Chalmers is a good defender.  The Nets’ best strategy is to throw up an onslaught of threes and hope the high-variance swings a few games in their favor. 

The main problem for Brooklyn is the same for every other team, though. Who will guard LeBron? Pierce and Joe Johnson are big enough wings to wrestle with the King for a bit, but the energy they’d exert would take away from their offense. Andrei Kirilenko might get a look, but he only played 11 minutes per game in the opening round and is a liability on offense at this point. Over the course of a series, LeBron will be too much for the Nets to handle. 

The best-case scenario for the Nets: Pierce and the corpse of Kevin Garnett turn back the clock due to their hatred of LeBron, steal a few games thanks to a barrage of threes, and their fans don’t get called out again by the team’s official Twitter feed.

But this isn’t the regular season, and there’s no way they’re beating the Heat. Miami in five.


You can reach Sean Burch here.



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