Mason Plumlee- tonight is your night. Okay, maybe that’s a bit much for a former NCAA Champion at Duke and a first round draft pick of the Brooklyn Nets. However, the highlight of Plumlee’s career thus far may just be the monster block that he had on LeBron James in the closing seconds of the Nets 88-87 win over the Heat on Tuesday night. More than just a win, the Brooklyn Nets are now 4-0 against Miami this year. And it couldn’t come at a better time with the troubles teams like Toronto, Indiana and even Miami are having as of late.
Immediately after the block, James and the rest of the Heat looked around in astonishment that a foul wasn’t called. And in reality, many viewers were probably surprised too. Not because it wasn’t a clean block, which is for you to decide, but more so because it was the self-appointed King, on his home court, wearing his “King James” jersey, in a close game against an Eastern Conference rival. And he didn’t get the call against a guy who is one of the lesser-known members of that Nets squad. The question is, would this same call have been made if this was a playoff game? Well, we could find out if both of these teams keep on a path that might lead to them meeting in the playoffs.
With the way things are going for the Nets right now, it looks like if these two teams were to meet it could be in the Eastern Conference finals. The Nets find themselves just two games back of Chicago and Toronto, and they are certainly playing better than both of these teams. If they could somehow sneak into one of those top four spots, they’d be looking at home court advantage during the first round of the playoffs. But if they keep playing like they did in Miami, it apparently doesn’t matter where the Nets are.
Despite the Nets being 4-0 against the Heat this year, three of those wins were only by one point. Aside from the 88-87 win on Tuesday, they also won 101-100 on November 1st and 96—95 on March 12th. And the last time they were in Miami, they won by 9 in a 104-95 effort when they ran away with things in the second overtime.
Do the Nets have the secret to beating the Heat? Well, it could be. After all, we saw the same thing happen last week when the Thunder swept the season series from the Spurs. And it just goes to show that no matter how good you are against other teams, it may not mean much if you don’t match up well come playoff time. Sure, it’s likely that if the Heat and Nets meet in the playoffs that Miami will be more than ready, but the Nets now have a huge mental advantage if that time comes.
Aside from James, who put in 29 on Tuesday, Chris Bosh was the only other starter to score in double-digits for the Heat, and Norris Cole added 10 off the bench. For the Nets, Paul Pierce, Joe Johnson, Mirza Teletovic and Marcus Thornton all pitched in with double-digit efforts of their own. However, nothing may have been as memorable as the highlight-reel block that we’ll likely see for the remainder of the season from Mason Plumlee.
After some recent struggles, the Heat now sit at 2/1 to win the NBA Championship. While the Nets have made a strong surge and now sit at 40/1.