Those nickname jerseys didn’t exactly bring out the best in the defending back-to-back champions.
Playing with names like “King James,” “J.Shuttlesworth,” “Cole Train” and “Birdman” on the backs of their jerseys, the Heat played uninspired and uninterested basketball for the better part of four quarters and two overtime periods and lost to the short-handed Brooklyn Nets 104-95 on Friday night at Barclays Center.
It was one of the best worst games of the season, if that is any kind of indication of how inconsistently both teams played.
“We didn’t play particularly well during the course of the game, but if we can look to one thing, we at least showed some mental toughness to continue to grind and continue to find a way to hang in there at both ends,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said.
LeBron James fouled out in the first overtime, Dwyane Wade missed the game with knee soreness and Shane Battier and Mario Chalmers also were unavailable for the Heat because of injuries. Meanwhile, the Nets were without center Brook Lopez and point guard Deron Williams. Lopez is out for the season with a foot injury, and Williams has struggled lately with ankle injuries.
“Even with LeBron out, I think we had a chance,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said.
So there weren’t many bodies left for the Heat by the end, and Miami didn’t put up much resistance. The Nets, now on a season-best five-game winning streak, outscored the Heat 11-2 in the second five-minute overtime. The Heat is 0-2 against Brooklyn this season and 0-3 in games played in New York. Miami lost to the Knicks on Thursday night.
James finished with 36 points, but an offensive foul with 36 seconds to play in the first overtime put him on the bench.
“I thought Kirilenko flopped a few times to be honest about it and he got the call,” James said. “The last one that fouled me out could’ve been a charge for sure. He put his hands on me as I drove and that got him off balance and he got the call.
“But he definitely flopped a few times.”
The Heat shot 42.5 percent from the field and was outscored 17-2 in second-chance points. Joe Johnson led the Nets with 32 points.
A three-pointer by Paul Pierce gave the Nets a seven-point lead with 2:57 left in double overtime. The Heat didn’t score in double OT until Ray Allen made a layup with 16.3 seconds left.
With James out of the game on fouls, it was up to Norris Cole to send the game into double overtime with a running jumper. Cole knocked down his clutch shot with three seconds remaining in the first overtime, and Pierce missed his second potential game-winner at the buzzer. Pierce missed a shot at the end of regulation as well.
Cole, filling in for Mario Chalmers for the third game in a row, had 18 points and seven assists. Chris Bosh had 10 points and 10 rebounds. Rashard Lewis added 12 points.
After four mostly uninspiring quarters, regulation ended in an 89-89 tie. The Heat had a chance to take the lead in the final minute, but James missed 1 of 2 free throws with 40 seconds to play. On the Nets’ final possession, Johnson missed a jumper with 14 seconds left and, following a loose-ball rebound by Shaun Livingston that gave the Nets one last shot, Pierce missed his long attempt at the buzzer.
Pierce had 22 points for the Nets. Livingston scored 19, and Kevin Garnett added 12 points and 10 rebounds. Brooklyn outrebounded Miami 49-39.
Mirza Teletovic committed a flagrant foul on James with 8:37 to play when he wrapped his arms around James on a fast break. James lunged toward Teletovic, but Michael Beasley grabbed James to break up a potential fight. The sequence was really the only interesting thing that happened in the first four quarters.
The Nets led by 12 points early in the fourth quarter, but James’ foul shots following the hard foul cut the Nets’ lead to one possession at 80-77.
A three-pointer by Cole gave the Heat a two-point lead with 2:10 to play. From there, the Heat and Nets swapped leads until James tied the game with a free throw with 40.8 seconds to play.
The nicknames on the back of the jerseys made it feel like a game of street ball, so, naturally, no one played any defense for the first 12 minutes. James played with “King James” on his jersey. Ray Allen was “J.Shuttlesworth” after the character he played (Jesus Shuttlesworth) in the movie He Got Game, Chris Andersen was “Birdman,” Cole was “Cole Train” and so on.
The teams combined to go 24 of 35 in the first quarter, with the Nets shooting 72.2 percent. Johnson was unstoppable in the first 12 minutes of the game, scoring 22 points on 9-of-10 shooting and 4-of-4 shooting from the free-throw line. Johnson drilled a three-pointer off a turnover with 22.9 seconds left in the first period to give the Nets a 33-32 lead.
James led the Heat with 16 points in the first period, going 5 of 6 from the field, 2 of 3 from three-point range and 4 of 4 from the free-throw line.
Johnson drilled a three-pointer off a turnover with 22.9 seconds left in the first period to give the Nets a 33-32 lead.
The Heat began the game 9 of 9 from the foul line after going 11 of 21 from the line on Thursday against the Knicks.
But the Heat couldn’t keep pace in the second quarter, and fell behind 53-45 at halftime. The Heat scored 13 points in the second period, going 5 of 18 from the field.