[Newark, NJ] After beating the Charlotte Bobcats of Friday (see re-cap below) and clinching the Southeast Division title against the New York Knicks on Sunday 93-85, the visiting Miami Heat wanted to extend their winning streak to three against the New Jersey Nets.
The Heat sent a message in the potential playoff preview – just because the Knicks’ Carmelo Anthony scored 42 points against them on Sunday, the boys from South Florida can still play great defense and offense in the clutch.
The Heat were struggling early in this one. The Nets’ Kris Humphries dominated the first quarter, scoring 14 points. For Miami, LeBron James scored 8 points and dished out 6 assists. At the end of one, the Nets were up 34-29.
Chris Bosh and the Heat turned it up a notch or two in the second. Bosh scored 8 points and had 5 rebounds, but the Nets continued to battle. New Jersey’s Sundiata Gaines scored 6 points and contributed with a couple key assists. At halftime, the Nets were up 55-52.
Humphries and Gerald Green kept at it for New Jersey in the third. Humphries scored half-a-dozen while Green poured in 11. The Heat couldn’t pull-off the expected comeback, as they were outscored by New Jersey 24-18. At the end of three, the Nets were up 79-70.
Miami Heat star LeBron James got home crowd treatment in New Jersey
LeBron went off in the fourth. In fact, King James held court for the final 6 minutes, erasing an 8-point lead that NJ held for most of the fourth quarter. James scored all 15 points during the Heat’s 15-9 run to end the game. It was epic.
In the final minutes, the New Jersey crowd was chanting “Lets Go Heat.” Amazingly, the Heat took their first lead on a LeBron jumper with only 13 seconds left. Then on the next possession for New Jersey, DeShawn Stevenson turned the ball over.
That led to LeBron making (!) a pair of free throws to seal the game. It probably helped that all you heard were “MVP” chants from the New Jersey crowd. The final score was Heat 100, Nets 99.
LeBron James was spectacular, scoring 37 points, handing out 7 assists and grabbing 6 rebounds. Chris Bosh also came up big, scoring 22 points and chalking up 15 rebounds.
“This is as big as he’s been for us in two years,” Miami Heat Head Coach Erik Spoelstra said. “I love the look he’s playing with right now.”
The Miami Heat are now 43-17 on the season. They play the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday.
The Miami Heat clenched their division with a win over the Knicks on Sunday
On Sunday, the Miami Heat beat the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden in New York, 93-85. Spoelstra wasn’t that impressed.
“I don’t think it means anything for the postseason,” Spoelstra said. “What it means is something about us and how we’ve been playing on the road as of late. We want to do a better job of it and the only way out is to get up, show up and collectively do better.”
Carmelo versus LeBron was a key match-up
And now bonus coverage of Friday’s game against the Charlotte Bobcats who offered little resistance …
After coming off that painful loss against the Chicago Bulls, the Heat traveled back home to face the NBA’s worst team, the Charlotte Bobcats. Both Dwyane Wade and Mike Miller sat out due to injuries.
“They’re both a little bit sore coming off last night,” Erik Spoelstra said. “It’s too quick of a turnaround for them.”
Udonis Haslem also sat out due to an illness.
The Heat came out on fire against the Bobcats in the first quarter and never really looked back. They ended the quarter strong, going on a 14-4 run to put them up 33-19. Chris Bosh scored 10 points in the quarter.
In the second quarter, the bench for Miami combined to score 19 points and played great defense against the Bobcats’ starters. By halftime, the Heat were up 58-39.
The Bobcats played the Heat evenly in the third, but they had already dug themselves too big of a hole. At the end of the third quarter, the Heat were up 81-59.
The Miami bench was brought in to finish this one off and they did not disappoint. Dexter Pittman was a highlight, scoring 10 points and ending the game with a career high of 16. The final score was Heat 105, Bobcats 82.
“We need to play well,” LeBron James said. “We want to play better than we have on the road.”
By: Michael Tristani II/Sunshine Slate
Lead image: Copyright 2012 NBAE (photo: Chris Chambers/NBAE/Getty Images)