Mason Plumlee blocked LeBron James’ dunk attempt with 2 seconds left and the Nets beat the Heat 88-87 on Tuesday night.
James and the rest of his teammates all thought the block was a foul. With the loss, the Heat’s lead in the Eastern Conference is now down to a half-game over the Indiana Pacers.
About the block James said, “He didn’t do it on purpose, but he got my right hand.”
James had 29 points, 10 rebounds, and six assists for the Heat, while Chris Bosh had 12 points and Norris Cole chipped in with 10 points. Joe Johnson scored 19 points, Marcus Thornton had 16, and Paul Pierce scored 14 points for the Nets.
Brooklyn won three of the games by a single point and became the first team in two years to sweep the Heat. Now I say the Nets are the biggest threat to the Heat in the playoffs, not the Pacers.
The Nets have been the hottest team in the NBA since the All-Star break. After the Nets’ slow start, nobody was giving them a chance to make the playoffs, including myself. Now the Nets are the 5th seed in the Eastern Conference and if the Heat can hang on to the one seed, both teams could possibly play each other in the second round of the playoffs.
The Nets have become a really good defensive team in the second half of the season and by acquiring Marcus Thornton at the trade deadline, their bench has become even more potent. The development of Plumlee has also been huge. Plumlee’s becoming one of the better shot blockers in the NBA and has gained a lot of valuable minutes with Kevin Garnett being injured.
The Nets are one of those teams that just provides a bad matchup for the Heat. When the Nets play the Heat, they seem to gain an added toughness about themselves that the Heat can’t seem to handle.
I still don’t think the Nets can beat the Heat in a seven game series, but I could see the series going six or even seven games. However, the key is Dwyane Wade’s health. If he is close to being 100 percent then it would be extremely hard for the Nets to beat the Heat in the playoffs. On the other hand, if Wade continues to get nagging injuries throughout the playoffs, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Nets pull off the upset against the Heat. The Nets, in my opinion, have made a case that they are the best candidate to knock off the Heat come playoff time.