MIAMI HEAT (28-13)
at BROOKLYN NETS (27-18)
Tip-off: Wednesday, 8:05 p.m. ET
Line: Miami -2, Total: 189.5
The Heat play their first-ever game in Brooklyn on Wednesday night, looking to extend their win streak versus the Nets to 13 games.
The Nets are coming off a blowout victory over the Magic in which they won by 20 points, 97-77. The Heat, on the other hand, just lost to the Celtics in their first game of many without star PG Rajon Rondo, falling 100-98 in double overtime. But this has not been much of a series over the past five seasons, as the Heat are 15-1 SU, including 12 straight victories over the Nets. They are also 9-2 ATS in the past 11 meetings with Brooklyn, winning the first two matchups this season by 30 points and 13 points.
Will the Nets finally snap their long losing skid in this series? For the answer, connect to NBA Best Bets for all the Expert picks throughout the entire 2012-13 season. For NBA Totals, the experts are a stellar 16-4 (80%) in the past five days with StatFox Gary going 8-1, StatFox Brian at 4-1 and StatFox Scott going 4-2 since Friday. For the season, Scott is a strong 66-47 (58%) in Totals, while Gary is a respectable 52% (59-54-4). For Best Bets, Scott is 6-4 ATS (60%) in the past six days to boost his season Best Bets mark to 53% ATS (65-58-1). Brian is at 51% ATS (69-67-3) and StatFox Dave is 7-6 ATS (54%) since Friday.
The Heat are coming off a tough loss to Boston, but emotions were running high for the Celtics who found out they were without Rajon Rondo for the rest of the season due to a torn ACL. In the loss, SF LeBron James recorded a monster game with 34 points, 16 rebounds and seven assists to go along with three steals. James is averaging 30.4 PPG, 9.4 RPG and 8.6 APG over the past five contests, but has just 20.5 PPG (56% FG) in two games versus Brooklyn this season. PF Chris Bosh will need to be more involved in the Miami offense as he is attempting just 12.0 PPG on 10.6 shots per game over the past five games compared to 17.2 PPG on 12.2 shots per game on the season, and 19.7 PPG on 14.2 FGA per game on his career. SG Dwyane Wade is really starting to come on as of late, averaging 24.6 PPG, 6.4 APG and 5.2 RPG to go along with 2.4 SPG over the past five games. His game against Toronto last Wednesday was probably his best of the year as he had 35 points on only 19 shots. He has also been on fire in two games versus the Nets this season, scoring 28.0 PPG on 71% FG, while adding 6.0 APG. Wade is a good enough defender to throw either Nets starting guards Deron Williams or Joe Johnson off their games.
The Nets just beat the Magic by 20 points on Monday, but they lost their two games before that contest in blowout fashion. The Grizzlies beat them by 24 points and then Houston took down Brooklyn by 13. There's definitely no sense of comfort in Nets locker room as they need to start beating better teams consistently. One thing they certainly have going for them is that star PG Deron Williams is out of his early season shooting slump. Over the past five games, Williams is shooting 53% from the field and 54% from three-point range. He is averaging 18.2 PPG, 9.2 APG and 4.6 RPG in those contests, compared to his 17.1 PPG, 7.8 APG and 3.3 RPG on the season. His impact on the game has completely changed now that he can hit his jumpers again, and he knows that his 12.0 PPG average (38.5% FG) against Miami this season must improve. C Brook Lopez has been scoring very efficiently for Brooklyn with 19.3 PPG on 58% from the field over the past four games, but he must improve his rebounding. Lopez is averaging just 5.8 RPG during this stretch. SG Joe Johnson has failed to score more than 13 points in his past three games (12.3 PPG on 41% FG), so look for Brooklyn to make more of an effort to get him going.