One of the more interesting games to keep your eye on Wednesday night will be the visiting Brooklyn Nets as they head to Miami to take on the Heat. Brooklyn has really started to put things together in the last few months and they have climbed their way into prime playoff contention. They now sit in sixth place in the East, but they could just as easily make their way to third if they stay streaking like they have lately.
Despite having a horrible first few months of the season, the Nets have really enjoyed their outlook in 2014. They started with a five game winning streak in January, which was their longest mark of the season at the time. One of those wins even came against none other than the team they’ll be playing on Wednesday, as they beat the Heat 104-96 in overtime. The Nets would finish January with a record of 10-3, getting them to a record of 20-24 on the last day of the month.
Although February started off with a hard fought loss in a 97-96 effort against Indiana, the Nets still had an above .500 month with a 7-5 record. And so far March has been extremely accommodating as they’ve won five out of the six games they’ve played. All of these streaks have been enough to take a team that started 2014 at 11-21, into a 32-30 overall record.
The Nets couldn’t ask to play the Heat at a better time. Before they got a win in Washington on Monday, the Heat were on a three game losing streak with losses to Houston, San Antonio and Chicago. Those are all plus-.500, which is the company that Brooklyn now finds itself in. If the Nets are looking to make a statement with another big win over a top team from the East, now is their time to do it.
The Nets have the Heat’s number this year. In the first game that was played, the Nets were able to edge out a 101-100 win over the defending champs. And considering that was when Brooklyn was struggling, that’s not a good sign for the Heat. The Heat then lost again on January 10th in 2OT, 104-95. However, both of those games were in Brooklyn and now the Heat will host Wednesday’s game, as well as the season finale between these two teams on April 8th, which you can find picks by handicappers on sportspicks.com.
One thing that is really nostalgic about this game is how much it demonstrates how far the rivalry between these core group of players has come. LeBron James was a member of the Cav’s when he was unable to get past Boston as Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Ray Allen and Rajon Rondo were reaching the pinnacle of the sport. Then LeBron went to Miami and Allen joined him, while the Celtics quickly fell apart and Pierce and Garnett found themselves in the Big Apple. If both of these teams keep playing the way that they have been as of late, we could be looking at another epic matchup between these two teams come playoff time. It’s unlikely they’ll meet in the first round, but a second round matchup is very likely. And if Miami wants to avoid having to overcome any mental roadblocks, they need to get a win against the Nets so that the season series doesn’t go 3-0 in favor of Brooklyn.
Miami is listed as high as an 8-point favorite in this game, which makes for a great opportunity to cash in if you think the game will be close or the Nets will get yet another win.