Reserve Tyler Johnson scored a season-high 24 points as the Miami Heat snapped a three-game losing streak by leading wire-to-wire in a 120-107 victory over the host Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday night.
After taking three straight home losses due to struggles in the fourth quarter, the Heat led by double-digits for most of the game,shot a season-best 54.1 percent and won for the third time in their last nine games.
Although they led by double-digits for most of the game, the Heat allowed the Nets to get within 106-97 on a 3-pointer by Shabazz Napier with 4:28 remaining. Miami then clinched the win when Johnson hit a 3-pointer for a 114-98 lead with 3:05 left.
Johnson shot 9 of 12 and led six Heat players in double figures. Goran Dragic added 21, Josh Richardson contributed 15 and Hassan Whiteside notched his 10th double-double with 14 and 10 rebounds.
The Nets played their first game since losing leading scorer Caris LeVert to a dislocated right foot in Monday’s loss at Minnesota. On Tuesday, the Nets said LeVert would return at some point this season, but before the game, general manager Sean Marks said there was not a timetable for the guard.
Reserve Spencer Dinwiddie led the Nets with 18 points. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson added 14, Napier contributed 13 but D’Angelo Russell shot 6-of-18 and was held to 12 after getting 31 Monday.
Without their leading scorer, the Nets struggled most of the night offensively, shooting 40.2 percent.
Brooklyn also played without starting center Jarrett Allen for a second straight game due to illness and almost lost Hollis-Jefferson to an apparent injury. Hollis-Jefferson had to be helped off the court at halftime but returned midway through the third quarter.
Miami shot 62.5 percent (15 of 24) and took a 37-21 lead through the opening quarter after Kelly Olynyk hit a 3-pointer in the final minute. After closing the first quarter on a 9-1 spurt, the Heat took their first 20-point lead at 44-23 on a 15-footer by Johnson 37 seconds into the second period.
The Nets came back with an 18-5 run to get within single digits before Miami ended the first half with a 61-49 lead. Miami regained its 20-point lead midway through the third and maintained 90-72 advantage heading into the fourth.
—Field Level Media