What happened in the preseason is over with and the games now have substance.
The Brooklyn Nets and Miami Heat met twice in the preseason with the Nets taking both contests rather handily. The Heat is coming off an embarrassing loss against the Philadelphia 76ers and the Nets are coming off a lost against the Cleveland Cavaliers. Both teams want to redeem themselves and there is not a better measuring stick for the Nets to see where they stand in the Eastern Conference.
This is the first meeting of the regular season of four between the two Eastern Conference juggernauts. The Nets are expecting a full house for their first home game of the season. The city of Brooklyn is hoping they will be celebrating a championship at the end of the year but everyone knows that the title runs through the team from South Beach.
The Heat did not forget the two crushing preseason losses the Nets handed them and I’m sure they would love to send them to their second consecutive defeat of the season. Deron William is ready to go after playing only 22 minutes against the Cavaliers due to ankle problem lingering from the preseason. Kevin Garnett has to play better than he did his last time out, taking only eight shots. Paul Pierce scored 17 points against the Cavaliers but missed a game-tying jumper in the closing seconds. Joe Johnson needs to regroup after another forgettable game since coming over to the Nets. The lone bright spot for the Nets was Brook Lopez who had 21 points, four blocks and five rebounds.
With Jason Kidd out for one more game, interim coach Joe Prunty needs to do a better job with substitutions and rotations. Garnett played only 26 minutes against the Cavaliers and if the Nets are to be successful against the Heat, Garnett will need to be on the floor more than 26 minutes. The bench, when in the game has to produce better than their last time out. The Nets are hoping that Andrei Kirilenko can play through his back spasms and help Jason Terry in the second unit.
The Nets and Heat are not quite a rivalry yet, but if the Nets were to beat the Heat for a third time this season, that could change quickly.