The Miami Heat and Brooklyn Nets are scheduled to square off at the Barclays Center on Monday night. The Nets still have something to prove. Like I’ve said countless times before, games are not one on paper. If they were, then the Nets would have a free trip to the NBA Finals. James Harden, Kyrie Irving, and Kevin Durant on the same roster?
Yeah, sign the Nets up for the Finals. Not so fast. The question still has to be answered whether Irving has any motivation to play any longer. If he is just going to go through the motions and not put in the extra work, it’s not going to work out.
The Nets are also going to have to play defense. They are not getting out of the Eastern Conference, and sure as heck aren’t beating a team like the Lakers or Clippers in the NBA Finals with the current effort they’re putting on. Steve Nash admitted after another loss against the Cleveland Cavaliers that they’re not a defensive roster.
At least he’s being honest, but that’s not what you want to hear from a head coach. Earth to DeAndre Jordan, it’s time to wake up and start being a cog in the paint. He doesn’t look like the same player that he was in Los Angeles with the Clippers. That could just be a case of him getting older and having more miles on the legs.
They were coming off back-to-back losses against the Cavaliers, 147-135 in double overtime and 125-113 before beating the Heat on Saturday. The expectations were that the Nets would bounce back with a commanding performance after losing to the Cavaliers. However, the defense laid down again, and an average Cavaliers team walked all over them for the second straight game.
There were just some embarrassing defensive efforts in that outing. Getting out hustled for rebounds has nothing to do with defensive talent, but more who wants it more. The Cavaliers wanted it more and they were rewarded for it.
The Nets go into Monday with a record of 10-8 for fifth in the Eastern Conference. They don’t have to worry about not reaching the playoffs, but a trip to the NBA Finals isn’t a given. That said, once the Nets get into a rhythm, they could be very difficult to knock off.
They enter Monday as decent favorites over the Miami Heat. The Heat are coming off a 128-124 loss against the Nets. Ben Adebayo netted 41 points and 9 assists, though it wasn’t enough. The Heat fell to 6-9 with the loss. Head below for our free Heat vs. Nets pick on January 25, 2021.
Miami Heat vs. Brooklyn Nets NBA Betting Odds:
Heat vs. Nets Prediction:
The Nets can score on any defense in the NBA, but their defense has left a lot to be desired. They are first in the league with 120.3 points scored per game, and they are leading in field goal percentage at 49.3%. The Nets aren’t leading from three, but still converting at an impressive rate of 40.2% for third in the NBA. Kevin Durant is the motor of the Nets. As exciting as Nets’ fans were to bring James Harden to New York, Durant is the catalyst of the team.
If you were to just look at the Nets through an offensive lens, then you’d think no one can touch them. Maybe when the defense comes around, or Steve Nash makes adjustments at some point. The fact he said this isn’t a defensive team doesn’t give me much confidence in Nash making the necessary changes to improve their defense, though. The Nets have allowed an average of 116.8 points per game for 27th in the NBA. In their last five, they’ve gotten touched up for 126.8 points against per game.
Fortunately for the Nets, the Heat are among the worst in the league at offensive rebounding. They have had a lot of issues getting second scoring chances on the offensive end. The Heat are 30th in the league in that regard. Against a porous defense like the Nets, second chances can mean a lot, but the Heat haven’t been able to get many this season. While I bash the Nets’ defense, the Heat have not been showing up particularly well on defense either.
The Heat are 22nd in the league with 113.1 points against per game. They’ve conceded just over 115 points a game on the road. The Heat and Nets have been scoring a lot of points in their recent meetings since January 10, 2020. They’ve scored an average of 237 points per game in their last three games. The Nets didn’t have an offense like they do now for two of those games. I would consider a play on the OVER on Monday night.