Thursday, February 22, 2024
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Nets cool off sputtering Heat 110-95

MIAMI (AP) – Goran Dragic looked up at the overhead screen and watched the video that paid tribute to his seven seasons with the Miami Heat, then waved to acknowledge the loud cheers from his former home crowd.

It was the start of a great night for the Brooklyn Nets.

And it was about the only thing Heat fans could cheer about.

Kevin Durant scored 23 points, Seth Curry added 17 and the Nets overwhelmed Miami 110-95 yesterday, sending the Heat to their season-worst fourth consecutive loss.

“I thought there was a lot of force and purpose offensively,” Nets coach Steve Nash said.

“We didn’t take things for granted.”

Andre Drummond had 13 points and 11 rebounds for Brooklyn, which got 11 points from Kyrie Irving and 10 from Nic Claxton.

Brooklyn Nets guard Goran Dragic is defended by Miami Heat forward
Caleb Martin. PHOTO: AP

“I think all phases of our game worked tonight,” Durant said.

Bam Adebayo scored 14 points for Miami, which trailed by as many as 37 – its biggest deficit of the season. The Heat were without coach Erik Spoelstra, who missed the game because of a family matter, and assistant Chris Quinn took his place.

Tyler Herro and Max Strus each had 13 and Kyle Lowry had 12 for Miami. Caleb Martin had 10 and Jimmy Butler was held to just seven points on two-of-nine shooting.

And the Eastern Conference race only got tighter, now with the top four teams all separated by only a half-game. Philadelphia (46-27, .630) moved into first in the East, percentage points ahead of Miami (47-28, .627). Boston and Milwaukee are both 46-28 (.622); the Celtics hold the head-to-head tiebreaker at this point over the Bucks.

“We’re not concerned in the sense of, like, panicking,” Lowry said. “But, yeah, we have to fix some stuff.”

Brooklyn (39-35) remained in the number eight spot, now a full game ahead of ninth-place Charlotte.

“We’re in that mindset where every game counts,” Drummond said.

Dragic said he learned about the tribute earlier. He’s kept friendships with plenty of Heat players and employees since getting moved in the trade that brought Lowry to Miami last summer.

“It means a lot,” Dragic said. “I spent almost seven years here. It’s always nice to get the reception that I did. We had a blast, but right now, my focus is in Brooklyn.”

The Heat bench stood in unison for the tribute.

“One of the best point guards to put on the jersey,” Quinn said. “Anytime we get to see him, we love seeing him. Obviously, we don’t love seeing him on the other team, but it’s always good to be around someone of that calibre.”

Brooklyn outscored Miami 40-21 in the second quarter to take a 21-point lead into the half.