Nets rout Heat to halt three-game skid
MIAMI — Call it the Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Heat.
Three nights after scoring 39 points in the fourth quarter to beat the Orlando Magic, the Miami Heat scored just 39 points in the first half against the lowly Brooklyn Nets and got run out of their own building.
The Nets, who entered AmericanAirlines Arena on a three-game losing streak, led by as many as 38 points before settling for a 111-87 win over Miami on Friday night.
“I’m speechless,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “We are an extremely challenging team to figure out. It’s tough to recognize our team from the previous game. One game doesn’t necessarily carry over to the next.
“We have a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde quality to us.”
The Heat (18-17) had beaten the Nets six straight times and 11 out of 12 before Friday’s surprising result. The 24-point margin of defeat tied Miami’s biggest blowout loss of the season.
Brooklyn (13-22) was led by Joe Harris’ 21 points and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson with 18 point. But this was a team effort as seven Nets scored in double figures and the team shot 49.4 percent from the floor, including 11 of 26 on 3-pointers (42.3 percent).
Harris made 7 of 9 shots, including 4 of 4 on 3-pointers. Hollis-Jefferson made 8 of 9 shots from the floor and added eight rebounds.
Brooklyn also got some strong play from Caris LeVert, who had 12 points and 11 assists.
In fact, the Nets’ bench - led by Harris and LeVert — outscored Miami’s reserves 55-27.
“We feel like we are the energy group,” LeVert said of Brooklyn’s second string. “We have to come in and bring the juice.
“The first group is a little older than we are. We have younger legs. We try to come in and be aggressive.”
Harris said the Nets are looking for more consistency, too.
“We want to bring this type of intensity night in and night out,” he said. “That’s what the good teams do. This should be an eye-opener for us.”
The Heat, who slipped to 8-9 at home, were led by Josh Richardson’s 19 points. Center Hassan Whiteside, in his second game back from a knee injury, added 17 points and eight rebounds.
Miami got off to an 8-0 start, but the Nets compiled a 16-2 run to take a 24-20 lead into the second period. The Heat dominated first-quarter scoring in the paint 16-8, but Miami shot 0 of 7 on 3-pointers while Brooklyn was accurate on 4 of 8.
Brooklyn dominated the second quarter, outscoring Miami 35-19 to take a 59-39 lead into halftime. The Nets shot 51 percent in the first half, including 7 of 15 on 3-pointers. Miami shot 31 percent, including 1 of 11 on 3-pointers.
The game was never close in the second half as Spoelstra pulled his starters early in the fourth quarter.
For the game, Miami shot a season-worst 33.7 percent, including 3 of 26 on 3-pointers (11.5 percent). The three 3-pointers were also a season low.
“It was a bad basketball game,” Spoelstra said. “We didn’t show resolve when our shots weren’t going in, and there was a lack of urgency.
“Give Brooklyn credit — they competed on a different level from us and deserved to win.”
NOTES: A win would have put the Heat three games over .500 for the first time this season. ... Heat SG Dion Waiters (ankle) missed his third straight game. ... Heat F Justise Winslow (left knee) missed his fifth straight game. ... Heat F James Johnson (right ankle) has missed three of the past four games and has played just eight minutes during that span. ... Nets leading scorer PG D’Angelo Russell (left knee) is out until the middle of January, and the player who was supposed to be his backup, Jeremy Lin, is out for the season (right knee). ... Nets C Jahlil Okafor (conditioning) could return next week. ... Nets SG Allen Crabbe, a 25-year-old who was acquired prior to this season in a trade with the Portland Trail Blazers, has the fifth-largest contract in Nets history in terms of annual salary ($19.3 million). ... Miami plays at the Orlando Magic on Saturday and then returns home for three straight games. ... Brooklyn’s five-game road trip ends Sunday at the Boston Celtics.