The Brooklyn Nets victory over the Miami Heat on Friday was symbolic in more ways than many could have imagined. Not only did the Nets finally snap a losing streak to the Heat of over four and half years, they also sent an aggressive message to the defending champs. With arguably the best starting lineup on paper and plenty of depth on their bench, the Nets are coming for the Heat, plain and simple.
One of the most notable differences between these two teams while on the court together was size. It seems that the Nets starting lineup towers over the Heats at times. With Brook Lopez at 7-foot-0 and Kevin Garnett at 6-foot-11 as your starting center and power forward, it gives the Nets fierce protection in the paint, and because of both players offensive prowess, can overwhelm teams in terms of who to cover. And this is before we even begin discussing the defensive coverage’s of Paul Pierce, Joe Johnson and Deron Williams, all players who start alongside Lopez and Garnett for the Nets.
When the buzzer finally sounded the end to this heavy weight bout, the Nets had out rebounded the Heat by 10, plus outscored their bench 36-22. The biggest differential of the night, however, was the blocks accumulated. The Heat only managed two blocks from LeBron James and Chris Bosh, while the Nets totaled five, getting help defense from Lopez, Pierce, Alan Anderson and Jason Terry. The way the stats are spread out amongst this team shows how deep the Nets truly are.
“They’re impressive,” said Wade, who looked healthy in scoring 21 points. “They’re going to be a team we’re going to battle with. They made the Eastern Conference tougher. They’re going to be a good team, there’s no secret about that.” (ESPN, Windhorst)
Wade sees what everyone witnessed on Friday night — a team capable of beating the defending champs at their own game. The Nets have the depth and veteran experience to do it, but what makes them so formidable is their size and how they exploit it against the Heat. Their next matchup comes much later on down the road, on Jan. 10. It will be interesting to see how both teams adjust to each other. It should make for one intense basketball game.