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Nets notch fifth straight win over frustrated LeBron, banged up Heat

Jan 11, 2014, 12:35 AM EDT

lebron restrained nets AP

NEW YORK — LeBron James fouled out of a game for just the sixth time in his career on Friday, and with the Heat entering the game in Brooklyn already down three of their starters, losing him for the second overtime session proved to be too much.

Behind big games from Joe Johnson and Shaun Livingston, along with some gritty and physical team defense, the Nets remained undefeated in 2014 by notching their fifth straight victory, a thrilling double-overtime triumph against a depleted Miami team and an admittedly frustrated James.

LeBron seemed irritable from the jump in this one, partly because he would have to do so much to carry his team on the second night of a back-to-back without Dwyane Wade, and partly because of the way the Nets defended him. Brooklyn was allowed to play physically against James, and as often happens to the more aggressive team, the Nets got the benefit of the doubt on many calls that could have gone either way.

“I thought I was a little frustrated in the first half, and I apologized to my teammates at halftime, telling them that my frustration and my body language was all wrong,” James said afterward. “I changed that in the second half, tried to be aggressive and put us in a position to win, but just came up short.”

It was a lackluster effort from the Heat through three quarters, who simply didn’t have the energy level to match what the Nets brought, and have been bringing during this recent stretch of winning basketball. But a play that occurred early in the fourth quarter helped to change that.

The Heat entered the fourth trailing by 12, but had already been chipping away at that deficit in the period’s first three minutes, and cut it to five by the time Mirza Teletovic grabbed LeBron around the neck to stop him on a fast break, right after James used a forearm to remove Andrei Kirilenko from his path to the basket.

LeBron was whistled for the offensive foul, and Teletovic received a flagrant one for his actions.

“He went around the neck, that was my take,” James said. “It’s not a basketball play.”

LeBron also accused Kirilenko of exaggerating contact that occurred on more than one occasion.

“I thought Kirilenko flopped a few times,” he said. “To be honest about it, he flopped a few times and he got the call. The last one that fouled me out, that could’ve been a charge for sure. But he kind of put his hands on me as I drove, and that got him off balance, and he was able to get the call. But Kirilenko definitely flopped on me a couple of times and got the call.”

Livingston was the one who took that last charge on James, but the point remains. And with James forced to watch the entire second overtime from the bench, his team was outscored for all but 16 seconds of the final five minutes, before a meaningless layup from Ray Allen was made to end the scoring for the night.

The Nets are coming together as a team, and the effort and energy they’ve been bringing on the defensive end has been the difference. Paul Pierce said as much afterward, pointing to the way his team defended James on the night as the primary example.

“We did a great job on him,” Pierce said. “The good thing I thought we did today, we attacked him too. You never see LeBron foul out. I can’t even remember. The last time I’ve seen him foul out was in a Boston playoff game actually, and that was like three or four years ago. When you get a player that caliber out of the game who hardly ever fouls out, it’s a tribute to what we’re doing on that end too. We’re attacking him as well as playing good defense on him.”

Pierce wasn’t entirely correct, as James fouled out of a playoff game as recently as last season against the Pacers in the Conference Finals. But his remark shows just how rare the occurrence is.

For Miami, these are the dog days of the regular season, even though we’re not even at the halfway point just yet. The injuries and the schedule caught up with them these past two nights, which ended a rough span of six games in nine days that left the Heat with a record of just 3-3 during that stretch.

The Heat have four days off until their next contest, and the break couldn’t come at a better time as far as James is concerned.

“We’re banged up right now as a team,” he said. “We’re not an excuse team, but right now, we have three starters that didn’t play. Even though we’ve got a lot of depth, it’s hard to make up for three starters being out. So we could all use this break for sure.”

  1. tampajoey - Jan 11, 2014 at 12:42 AM

    This is the 4th Heat article in a row on this site. Is this There are other teams in the league that played tonight. How about getting off the Heat’s jock for a while.

    • 1972wasalongtimeago - Jan 11, 2014 at 7:40 AM

      It’s what happens when the Heat lose, they all come out of their caves. After next win, see how many articles there’ll be.

      For anyone who cares, check out LeBron’s Q&A with his fans on Twitter from early this morning. Some ?s are better than others, but his answers are great. He makes fun of his hairline & his 2011 finaks performance, and gives a pretty good insight on his thoughts on some interesting topics. Can’t help but come away feeling how lucky we are to have this guy. Not just Miami but all sports fans. LeBron’s the greatest.

      And he’s never leaving

      • fanofthegame79 - Jan 11, 2014 at 9:32 AM

        I’m right there with you, longtimeago! The one about “how do I get my baby to sleep”, LeBron’s answer was “put on my 2011 finals – night night!”. Gotta dig someone who doesn’t take themselves too seriously, even when the worlds biggest spotlight is always on you.

    • jimeejohnson - Jan 11, 2014 at 11:46 AM

      Good point. Lakers get too much coverage, as well.

  2. jerdogthompson - Jan 11, 2014 at 1:45 AM

    It’s a pleasure to see Livingston (Shaun sp?) back in the groove. As a clipper fan that witnessed his horrific injury against the cats I’m the first to say congrats. Keep it up bro.

  3. a0kalittlema0n - Jan 11, 2014 at 2:06 AM

    Try having half of your team out… For two seasons. You had to deal with 3 starters out for ONE game, man up! “We aren’t an excuse team” BUT here is an excuse…

    -Lakers Fan

    • jimeejohnson - Jan 11, 2014 at 11:43 AM

      Lakers fan, a.k.a. loser.

      • cantonbound13 - Jan 11, 2014 at 1:30 PM

        Jimmiejohnson aka moron

  4. savvybynature - Jan 11, 2014 at 2:13 AM

    Funny to hear Lebron complain about flopping. He has admitted to doing it himself, and his teammate Wade is one of the most egregious floppers in the league (up there with Chris Paul and James Harden imo).

  5. asublimeday - Jan 11, 2014 at 4:50 AM

    Just like Cleveland Lequit. This dude has no heart and is the definition of a front-runner. Without his little Jr dream team butt buddies he’s got nothing.

  6. ptsportsdebate - Jan 11, 2014 at 5:48 AM

    Lebron’s headband couldn’t hide his frustration or his receding hair line tonight.

  7. davidly - Jan 11, 2014 at 6:27 AM

    After Golden State, Brooklyn is the only lineal champ to run up against THE reigning NBA champ during their lineal stretch–both having been victorious against them.

    While I think the Warriors victory was more impressive coming in the middle of a eleven game winning streak–six straight on the road–and with both squads at relative full strength, the Heat are an elite team and anybody who beats them deserves credit. Credit to Miami, as well, for coming back and making it interesting.

    • fatcamper - Jan 11, 2014 at 8:50 AM

      Does the term “lineal champ” imply Brooklyn is next in line to be the the league champion? If so, how can they and Golden State both be in that position? I genuinely don’t know what that term means, so I am just looking for a little clarification.

      • davidly - Jan 11, 2014 at 9:14 AM

        “Lineal champ” derives from boxing, a term that basically means “the guy who beat the guy”. As displayed below, you can see how the lineal championship flows. Philadelphia won in on opening day, and lost it three games later to Golden State (the first of the two times they won it).

        Sure, it’s relatively meaningless, but it’s interesting–and there are a few indications we can take from it, in my opinion:

        Lineal Championship – 2013 Finals Champion Miami

        Oct 30 – Miami 110, Philadelphia 114
        Nov 01 – Philadelphia 109, Washington 102
        Nov 02 – Chicago 104, Philadelphia 107

        Nov 04 – Philadelphia 90, Golden State 110
        Nov 06 – Golden State 106, Minnesota 93

        Nov 08 – Golden State 74, San Antonio 76
        Nov 10 – San Antonio 120, New York 89
        Nov 11 – San Antonio 109, Philadelphia 85
        Nov 13 – Washington 79, San Antonio 92
        Nov 15 – San Antonio 91, Utah 82
        Nov 20 – Boston 93, San Antonio 104
        Nov 22 – San Antonio 102, Memphis 86
        Nov 23 – Cleveland 96, San Antonio 126
        Nov 25 – New Orleans 93, San Antonio 112

        Nov 27 – San Antonio 88, Oklahoma City 94
        Nov 29 – Golden State 112, Oklahoma City 113
        Dec 01 – Minnesota 103, Oklahoma City 113
        Dec 03 – Oklahoma City 97, Sacramento 95

        Dec 04 – Oklahoma City 104, Portland 111
        Dec 06 – Utah 98, Portland 130

        Dec 07 – Dallas 108, Portland 106

        Dec 09 – Dallas 97, Sacramento 112

        Dec 11 – Utah 122, Sacramento 101
        Dec 13 – Utah 103, Denver 93

        Dec 14 – San Antonio 100, Utah 84

        Dec 16 – San Antonio 92, Los Angeles Clippers 115
        Dec 18 – New Orleans 95, Los Angeles Clippers 108
        Dec 21 – Denver 91, Los Angeles Clippers 112
        Dec 22 – Los Angeles Clippers 120, Minnesota 116

        Dec 25 – Los Angeles Clippers 103, Golden State 105
        Dec 27 – Phoenix 86, Golden State 115
        Dec 29 – Golden State 108, Cleveland 104
        Dec 31 – Golden State 94, Orlando 81
        Jan 02 – Golden State 123, Miami 114
        Jan 03 – Golden State 101, Atlanta 100
        Jan 05 – Golden State 112, Washington 96
        Jan 07 – Golden State 101, Milwaukee 80

        Jan 08 – Golden State 102, Brooklyn 98
        Jan 10 – Miami 95, Brooklyn 104

      • davidly - Jan 11, 2014 at 9:33 AM

        correction: an 08 – Golden State 98, Brooklyn 102

        Thanks, trevormcnamara, I got that backward.

      • jimeejohnson - Jan 11, 2014 at 11:44 AM

        Your posts are great. Keep them coming. Thanks.

  8. daddyb1gdrawz - Jan 11, 2014 at 9:01 AM

    What I find interesting is for a good team Miami is so beatable. In looking at the Knicks and Nets something told me they would lose those games. That is because they are fundamentally flawed and not able to get second chance points with rebounds. Indiana always seem to win games they should. I am not sure what Oden will provide them but he is a larger piece of the puzzle than many realize.

    • fanofthegame79 - Jan 11, 2014 at 9:38 AM

      Buddy, this is the same “they are beatable” argument that’s been flying around since this team assembled. They find a way to win when it matters: the playoffs. I’m sure they wanted to win both of these games, but the facts stand: it’s a pair of games against sub-.500 teams in the early part of January. It’s not even the second half of the season. The Heat were missing some key players last night, and it was a back-to-back game. That’s a lot to ask of your remaining players – to expend that much energy in a short amount of time. Finally, there have been several teams over the last 3 seasons that have beat Miami in the regular season (talking 3-1 over the regular season) only to get destroyed in the playoffs by the Heat (Bulls 4-1) or at least beat (Celtics, Pacers). I think the Heat will be just fine after the All Star break and going into March. (And lets not forget that the Heat are ahead of their win/loss pace from last year)

    • fanofthegame79 - Jan 11, 2014 at 9:39 AM

      And the Pacers just lost a game to the Hawks for very similar reasons – I think they managed to put up 84 points (or around there).

  9. trevormcnamara - Jan 11, 2014 at 9:29 AM

    Golden State lost to Brooklyn on the 8th

  10. eagles512 - Jan 11, 2014 at 9:48 AM

    The nicknames on the jersey is one of the dumbest things I’ve seen in a while.

  11. cruzan80 - Jan 11, 2014 at 11:05 AM

    “A depleted Heat team”

    I’m sorry but I don’t remember seeing Deron Williams OR Brook Lopez on the court for the Nets. Last time checked LBJ is suppose to be the best player on the planet & the Heat…not the Nets…are the reigning champs. How about we just chalk this up to they simply got outplayed & stop with the lame excuses.

    • jimeejohnson - Jan 11, 2014 at 11:45 AM

      Nets finally playing to their potential. Can’t wait till they meet those Knicks, again.

    • antistratfordian - Jan 12, 2014 at 12:10 AM

      Exactly. And that’s what this game comes down to – they got outplayed because they didn’t come with the proper focus.

      But, you know, if this was a game that the Heat felt really mattered they would’ve won it. But regardless of that, the Heat always think they can win any game in the 4th quarter regardless of the first three quarters. They started doing that last year during their win streak – and we saw it again in the finals.

      It is true, for the most part, but they will lose some of those games too and they have to accept that.

  12. lexi317 - Jan 11, 2014 at 12:43 PM

    This was an excellent win all around. Proud of Shaun Livingston taking over, making plays when its mattered. Ask D-Will to play like that. Begun to forget he even is on the roster. Like the first win at the beginning of the season, we showed no fear and this Heat team not going to intimidate us. Great win for the Nets.

  13. losanginsight - Jan 11, 2014 at 1:08 PM

    So this is how “the queen” acts when calls don’t go his way. Welcome to the NBA. Officiating can dictate the outcome of any game. Only fouling out 6 times so far in a career? Hibbert fouled out 3 times in a series. Without the refs help this team would only have the 1 *ring. Not 3 not 4 not 5.

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