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Heat Collapse in Second Half, Nets Reclaim Sixth Seed in Playoff Race After Taking Down Miami 129-100



Miami Heat Forward - Jimmy Butler | Photo Credit:

Mikal Bridges scored 27 points on the night, and the Brooklyn Nets would go on an absolute tear during the third quarter, highlighted by a 31-6 run on the way to racing past the Miami Heat 129-100 on Saturday night. The Nets would move back into the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference over the Miami Heat, with the NBA Playoffs looming around the corner.

Cam Johnson added 23 points for the Nets (40-34), who snapped a five-game losing streak with their victory. They’re only just a half-game up on Miami (40-35) in the race for the sixth and final guaranteed playoff berth, but that is not the only news of significance. The Nets have swept the Heat 3-0 this season and would also own a head-to-head tiebreaker for playoff seeding.

“We had the mindset coming in that this was a playoff game,” Cam Johnson said.

Max Strus and Tyler Herro both scored 23 points each for the Heat, all of Strus’s points being recorded during the first half. Jimmy Butler would churn out 18 and Bam Adebayo finished with 16 for the Heat. Miami would have the lead heading into halftime over the Nets by four but they would ultimately be outscored 64-31 by the Nets in the second half.

“We have not been defending at a world-class level, the way we’re capable of … and the second half just became an avalanche,” Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra said.

The Heat could have moved 1 1/2 games ahead of Brooklyn for sixth in the eastern conference standings with a win Saturday night but for now, Brooklyn is in position to escape the play-in tournament that’ll decide the final two East playoff berths.

“There has been nothing easy about this season and that doesn’t necessarily mean that has to be a negative thing,” Spoelstra said. “You have to embrace the struggle. You have to figure out ways to stay together … but we just got categorically outplayed tonight.”

It was Brooklyn’s second visit to Miami this season. The first was on January 8th, which was the last time All-Star Kevin Durant had played for the Nets. Durant left that contest with a knee injury, then was subsequently traded to Phoenix not too long after. Former Nets All-Star Kyrie Irving has since been traded to the Dallas Mavericks, as well.

The Nets were 27-13 after that matchup with the Heat in early January, standing in at second in the Eastern Conference standings and only a game behind the Boston Celtics for the best record in the NBA. They have went 13-21 on the season since then, yet still have the Heat trailing behind them in the standings, which Brooklyn Nets head coach Jacque Vaughn claimed he has not discussed the matter with his team.

“You need the momentum, the confidence, the reassurance that you can get it done,” Vaughn said. “So, I haven’t tried to complicate it more than that.”

Miami’s primary area code is 305, and Heat captain Udonis Haslem, a Miami native and former Florida Gator who is in his 20th and final season with the Heat; he now has his own section at the Miami-Dade Arena that he dubbed his home for the entirety of his NBA career. Section 305 was dedicated in Haslem’s honor Saturday evening, Haslem certainly embodies the definition of a “Heat-Lifer.”

Erik Spoelstra also had the chance to watch Nova Southeastern, a college located in Davie, Florida, go on to win the Division II national championship Saturday, where the Sharks would finish with an unblemished 36-0 record on the season. “That was a year for the ages and something they’ll take for the rest of their lives,” said Spoelstra.



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