The Brooklyn Nets have been streaking as of late, fighting to get back into contention to make the 2014 NBA Playoffs. On Friday night as they faced off with the Miami Heat in primetime on national television, the Nets had not only a chance to get another victory, but also to prove they are really hitting their stride by knocking off one of the league’s best.
However, the Nets got off to a fantastic start, led by Joe Johnson’s blistering 22 points in the first quarter. Brooklyn had a lead for most of the game, but, as is often the case with Miami, the Heat fought back and eventually forced overtime. Overtime ultimately dealt the death blow to the Heat, even if they did force double overtime.
Trying to tie the game late in overtime, LeBron James drove into the lane looking to knock down a floater. As he rose up, though, LeBron rose up through the chest of Shaun Livingston and was whistled for the offensive foul. That foul was his sixth of the game, making this the first time since 2008 that he’s fouled out of a game.
Norris Cole eventually forced double overtime, but the Nets were able to thrive without LeBron on the floor in the second extra five minutes.
The narrative used to be about LeBron not being clutch and not being able to step up when the game matters. It’s nights like this where we see how far we’ve moved along from that storyline and how valuable he is to the Heat, even if he’s not the lone star. Even though Dwyane Wade wasn’t available for this one, we still saw how this team struggles without King James, as his nickname jersey read on Friday night, on the floor late in games.