Miami Heat

Who has the advantage? Miami Heat vs. Brooklyn Nets

 
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WEB VOTE Which Nets player should the Heat be most concerned about?

jgoodman@miamiherald.com

GUARDS

Heat has the edge if Dwyane Wade remains healthy. The first round couldn’t have played out any better for the Heat’s starting shooting guard, who missed 28 games this season to rest his knees for the postseason. Wade averaged 33 minutes in the Heat’s four games against the Charlotte Bobcats, and then had seven full days to rest and condition for the Nets. At point guard, Deron Williams gets the edge over Mario Chalmers, but comparing the two players straight up doesn’t yield much insight. Williams is a traditional point guard while Chalmers has adapted well to a hybrid backcourt role alongside Wade and LeBron James. Chalmers is shooting 45.5 percent from three-point range in the playoffs and his assist to turnover ratio is sterling, 7.0. By comparison, Williams’ assist-to-turnover ratio was 2.17 in the first round. Advantage: Heat

FORWARDS

The combination of LeBron James and Chris Bosh gives the Heat the edge at forward every time, but the Celtics will counter with a formidable duo in the hopes of creating a mismatch. Joe Johnson, the Nets’ go-to player at this point, is expected to start at small forward opposite James. Johnson averaged over 21 points per game against the Toronto Raptors and did most of his damage inside the paint. He shot 65 percent (28 of 43) from inside the restricted area. James would be the perfect player to shut down Johnson, but that would then leave Chris Bosh to defend Paul Pierce if Udonis Haslem starts at center. The Heat could counter Pierce at power forward by starting Shane Battier. Pierce is averaged 30 minutes and 13.4 points per game against the Raptors. Advantage: Heat

CENTER

Unlike the forward positions, the overall edge at center will be determined by who starts for the Heat. A matchup between Kevin Garnett and Udonis Haslem would favor the Nets, but if the Heat starts Shane Battier and slides Bosh to the center position, then Garnett’s height advantage wouldn’t be as severe. Going off the starting lineups of both teams in the first round, the Nets get the slight edge. Advantage: Nets

BENCH

This is a tough one, but the Heat gets the edge here based on the overall clutch performances of its bench players throughout the Heat’s back-to-back championship run. Ray Allen is the best shooter off the bench for both teams, and no one of the Nets’ bench will be able to consistently match the energy level of Chris Andersen. But beyond those two obvious advantages for the Heat, the Nets stack up well. Guard Shaun Livingston plays solid defense and his length could give the Heat’s backcourt some problems. He gets the edge over Norris Cole. Nets centers Andray Blatche and Mason Plumlee, the rookie who blocked James’ dunk attempt at the buzzer in the final regular-season meeting between these two teams, could be matchup issues for the Heat. Veteran forward Andrei Kirilenko is a quality defender and was signed over the offseason, in theory, to hound James in the postseason. Advantage: Heat

COACHING

Not really much of a debate here. Jason Kidd, a future Hall of Famer as a player, is in his first season as a coach. While Kidd is new to coaching, he has acquitted himself nicely to the demands and pressures of the job. Meanwhile, Erik Spoelstra has led the Heat to back-to-back championships and three straight Finals appearances. Advantage: Heat

INTANGIBLES

Closer than expected, but the Heat gets the edge based on continuity throughout its roster and overall familiarity with its defensive systems, individual adjustments and personnel. Oh, and the Heat has won two straight championships. The Nets were 4-0 against the Heat this season, but the Heat’s players — with Wade being the most notable exception — have mostly discounted that record. Advantage: Heat

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