NBA Preview: Miami Heat vs. Brooklyn Nets

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Anthony Gruppuso – USA TODAY Sports

It’s starting to look like the new-look Brooklyn Nets and the two-time defending champion Miami Heat are beginning somewhat of a rivalry that emulates that of the former Boston Celtics-Miami Heat rivalry days.

It looks even more enticing considering Brooklyn’s offseason acquisitions of Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Jason Terry, all of whom are former Celtics. Now I know Terry can’t forget being posterized by LeBron James last season in a 105-103 loss with his former Celtics. And I also know that the preseason jawing back and forth between James, Pierce and Garnett over their “hypocrisy” in criticizing Ray Allen for leaving the Celtics to join the Heat, when Garnett and Pierce did the same in joining the Nets, will not be forgotten.

This will be the first regular season match-up between these two All-Star line-ups, and although the Nets won both preseason match-ups in a dominant fashion, I feel as though this time it will be a bit more competitive.

Tonight will mark the first of three match-ups between the two powerhouses, and it may be a look at the two best teams in the Eastern Conference. As both teams are coming off a loss, I’m sure each team will be eager to come out strong and show who is the best in the East.

Some factors to keep an eye on in tonight’s game will be if Dwyane Wade will participate or if will he continue to rest his ailing knee. Another factor to keep in mind are the big-time match-ups between Mario Chalmers-Deron Williams, Chris Bosh-Garnett, Wade (if he plays)-Joe Johnson, and of course, James-Pierce. This will also be the first time that Garnett and Pierce will face-off against Allen in a Nets jersey.

Furthermore, with All-Stars on both ends of the court, this will be a high intensity game with emotions riding high. My prediction is a close game, but the Nets will ultimately pull away in the fourth quarter and eventually prevail.

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