Heat Check: Team effort, solid defense lead Miami over Nets

BY foxsports • December 16, 2014

Despite hearing bad news in regards to poor health, the Miami Heat put together a strong defensive performance and got some quality production from their bench to defeat the Brooklyn Nets 95-91 on Tuesday night.

Dwyane Wade led the team from the start, finishing with 28 points, five rebounds and four assists. But it was a complete effort from both starters and reserves to control most of the game.

Several players took on the challenge to step up their production in the absence of Chris Bosh and Josh McRoberts. Five Heat players reached double figures in scoring with Luol Deng showcasing his versatile game with 18 points, six rebounds and four assists, while making life difficult for Joe Johnson.

As good as Miami's offense was, the real story was its defense that held the Nets to 39 percent shooting from the field and constantly forced them into difficult shots. Udonis Haslem and Chris Andersen set the tone for a gritty effort in the paint. It was complemented by effective rotations out on the perimeter that limited the Nets' shooters.

Brooklyn made several runs throughout the game but was unable to take the lead. The Nets cut the deficit to a single point in the third quarter and made one final push to cut a 10-point lead for the Heat down to two points with 35 seconds left in the game. Wade was forced into a difficult 3-point attempt but Bojan Bogdanovic fouled Deng as he tried to get positioning for the rebound. His two free throws made it a two-possession game as the Heat walked away with a welcome win after a difficult start to the week.

THE TURNING POINT

No, it wasn't the nearly half-hour delay in the first quarter due to a leaky roof at the Barclays Center.

Instead, it was when Miami held a 13-point lead after Justin Hamilton opened the third quarter with a 3-pointer. Brooklyn then scored 12 straight points to pull within one point and grab the momentum. Though Miami has struggled in the third quarters of games this season, the Heat fought back and went on a 10-3 run to close the quarter and restore the lead to 10 points.

THE DIFFERENCE MAKER

Wade shook off a stomach virus that prevented him from going through the morning shootaround and managed to put together a vintage performance that the Heat desperately needed with Bosh's absence.

He started red-hot from the field and scored the first 10 points for his team. Wade was just as deadly in crunch time with seven points in the final quarter.

STAT OF THE GAME

A total team effort was needed, and the bench answered the call with 35 points. Three reserves reached double digits in scoring.

WHAT'S NEXT

Miami returns home to host the Utah Jazz at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday

You can follow Surya Fernandez on Twitter @SuryaHeatNBA or email him at SuryaFoxSports@gmail.com.



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