Brooklyn Boro

Nets’ problems continue in loss to Heat

Brooklyn bested by Miami in virtually all phases

October 28, 2021 John Torenli, Sports Editor
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Second-chance points, scoring in the paint, rebounding and shot disparity.

Take your choice Brooklyn basketball fanatics.

The Nets were beaten badly in all of the above categories Wednesday night in front of a sellout crowd of 17,732 at Downtown’s Barclays Center en route to a 106-93 loss to the visiting Miami Heat.

Brooklyn (2-3) dropped to 1-2 on its ongoing six-game homestand, which continues Friday night here against the Indiana Pacers.

Worse than their early up-and-down results is the lack of second effort the Nets are showing, be it on the boards or for loose balls.

But Joe Harris, who hit five 3-pointers to become the franchise leader in shots made from beyond the arc, feels the Nets just need to hoist up more field goals than their opponents, and the rest will work itself out.

Brooklyn clanged all but 14 of its 43 3-point attempts and the Heat took advantage by taking the lead for good with a 32-23 third quarter that erased the Nets’ two-point halftime advantage.

Joe Harris knocked down five 3-pointers Wednesday to become the Nets’ all-time leader in that category with 816. AP Photo by Matt Slocum

“Overall a consistent theme was second-chance opportunities,” Harris said after Miami made the most of its second shots, outscoring Brooklyn 31-4 in that category.

The Heat also beat the Nets in the paint, 48-34, and along the boards, 62-42.

Harris felt most disappointed by Miami’s 96-85 advantage in field-goal attempts.

“When you look up and the shot margin was as big as it was, it’s really hard to beat good teams,” he noted. “That was a problem a lot of last year and it’s been a problem a lot of this year so far.”

The Nets doubtlessly would have had more, or at least as many, shots as the Heat (3-1) if they had battled more for rebounds and scrambled a bit harder for 50-50 balls.

Bam Adebayo scored 24 points and pulled down nine boards for Miami, which won its second in a row.

“We have a bunch of like-minded guys,” Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra said. “(That’s) the way those guys are hard-wired.”

The Nets are still trying to find a consistent groove during the first several weeks of the campaign after coming in as preseason favorites to take the Eastern Conference and perhaps even bring Brooklyn its first major pro sports championship since 1955.

The absence of vaccination holdout Kyrie Irving has put more pressure on Kevin Durant to carry the load for the Nets, but the superstar forward has been doing his share.

He put up team highs of 25 points and 11 rebounds in Wednesday’s defeat and James Harden added 14 points and seven assists.

A well-decorated veteran who has already won a pair of championships in Golden State and two Finals MVPs to go with it, Durant isn’t living and dying with the Nets’ mixed early results thus far.

Instead, the 7-foot superstar is focusing on what the Nets are doing better.

“I like how we’re playing defense the last couple games,” he said. “I like where our defense is trending. … I feel like we’re generating good shots. We’re just (not) knocking them down. If we continue to generate good shots we’ll put ourselves in good position.”

Friday night vs. Indiana would be a good time to start.

Heat coach Eric Spoelstra watched his team beat Brooklyn in second-chance points, points in the paint, rebounds and shots taken Wednesday. AP Photo by John Minchillo

NOTHING BUT NET: Harris has 816 3-pointers made for Brooklyn, three more than Hall of Fame point guard Jason Kidd hit during his time with the Nets. The former All-Star Weekend 3-point champion received praise from head coach Steve Nash, who was doubtlessly looking for something positive to talk about following Brooklyn’s poor performance against Miami. “He’s an elite shooter for a reason,” Nash said of the current longest-tenured Net. “His dedication and discipline to do it every day is outstanding and that’s why he is where he is, especially, I don’t think that anyone thought when he was in high school or college that he’d be the Nets all-time leader in 3-pointers, so I think that’s just a tribute to how dedicated and how much he’s willing to sacrifice to continue to grow as a player and to be in that type of category.” … Following Brooklyn’s game vs. Indiana on Friday, the Nets will host Detroit here on Sunday and Atlanta next Wednesday. Brooklyn will hit the road for six straight games beginning Nov. 5 in Detroit.

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