Nets Show Off Their Depth Versus Heat


VIDEO: Nets edge out Heat in thrilling Brooklyn home opener

NEW YORK – The Brooklyn Nets don’t just have five former All-Stars in their starting lineup. They go much deeper than that, as evidenced by the minutes played in Friday’s 101-100 win over the Miami Heat.

Paul Pierce‘s 31 minutes were the most by a Nets player. Nobody else played more than 27 and the Brooklyn starting lineup played just eight minutes together all night. Kevin Garnett‘s 26 minutes were the fewest he has played against the Heat since they signed LeBron James and Chris Bosh.

The Heat did not play well. Three games into the season, they’ve yet to find a rhythm. And it’s clear that James — one of three Heat players to log more minutes than any Net — doesn’t quite have his full explosiveness at this stage.

But the Nets aren’t exactly clicking on all cylinders, either. Deron Williams is just getting back into basketball shape after sitting out most of the preseason. Andrei Kirilenko made his Nets debut on Friday, but had his minutes limited. And Brook Lopez spent most of the night on the bench with foul trouble.

No worries, because this team basically goes 10-deep with guys who can put the ball in the basket. Ten of the 11 Nets who played on Friday scored at least six points and none of them took more than 11 shots.

“I think we have probably more depth than anybody in the league,” Pierce said. “The bench is going to be huge for us all season long.”

One of the biggest plays of a game was a Williams/Garnett pick-and-roll that forced James to sag off of Joe Johnson, who drained a 3 from the strong-side wing. With those three guys on one side of the floor, it was a difficult play to defend. And then you realize that Pierce was standing in the opposite corner, while Lopez, Kirilenko and Jason Terry were all sitting on the bench.

Scary.

And that was just a one-pass possession. Most of the night, there were multiple passes until the ball found the open man. Ball reversal is critical against Miami, and Brooklyn made sure they made the defense move. This team isn’t just deep in terms of minutes played, but also in regard to how many different guys can beat you every time down the floor. And it doesn’t matter to them who takes the shot.

“Our strength is sharing the ball,” Garnett said afterward. “You can’t play defense on everybody. We’ve got a lot of first-option guys who scored a bunch of points on different teams. We got a lot of talent on this squad. We know our strength is in numbers.”

The questions with this team begin with the health and durability of Garnett and Pierce. But while keeping their minutes down is a priority, it shouldn’t be a problem. And the Nets’ depth comes with versatility, and ability to play big or small.

“One of things we noticed right away was the big-ticket moves,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said, “But then they continued to fill in their roster.”

This game was just one of 1,230 and these two teams will probably look much different the next time they meet (Jan. 10). But it was made clear on Friday just how much Brooklyn’s depth could be a problem for the champs, and for the rest of the league.

“I think it’s the beauty of it, right now,” Williams said. “Nobody has to play too many minutes, and nobody cares. You’re not seeing anybody pouting. Everybody’s up cheering. Everybody’s having fun. That’s how it’s supposed to be.”

37 Comments

  1. sanjay says:

    the heat have no rhythm at the moment. lebron still has to iron out few kinks in his game( ball handling n travel are ramphant). The heat also needs couple of young legs out there( spolestra might be giving veterans chance to settle down though). Beasely can make a huge difference for the heat along with mason jr-they need a hustler like miller which is glaringly missing right now! Having said all that, wade and bosh are playing very well. The heat will be back to their best when lebron starts averaging near 30 and not teen 20′s!

  2. Gillsy says:

    People have said that is unfair that the Nets are so deep. But the fact of the matter is that when you have players like, KG, PP, Terry and Williams getting back into shape they are not going to play big minutes. Look at KG last season the had a regimented timetable for each game to get him through. They need to be that deep.

  3. Cripple Rapist says:

    Just a mere practice season… BKN may win all of their regular season games against the HEAT… But trust me BKN gone all out… How About the HEAT??? Have they??? They haven’t use all of their resource… Just let them get busy on defending Dwade and LBJ… Come playoffs time, you will see what I’m trying say…. As of now enjoy your regular season win… We will just take the RING in the FINALS…

  4. NSUK says:

    first off, get lost Don’t ever CLICK MY NAME!!!! You Have been warned coz your a joke and a plain hater, 2nd dont all get to excited the season is way tooo young

  5. Let's go Heat says:

    I won’t care how depth the Nets are. In the end, 5-on-5 on the court. Even the Nets defeat Heat in all regular season games, they are not playoffs. I just concern Heat did not defense and move the ball well in this game.
    All-stars starters of Nets, well, impressive on paper only. Do anyone remember Lakers last season? Won the first regular game against Heat but ignored other teams…Let’s see what happen in playoffs.

  6. @Mauricio:

    I support the Heat in 2006 and we win. I support them 2011 to 2013 and they win too when nobody trust on them.
    Most part of the fans said bad words about the Heat and I was there in hangtime blogs support the Heat.
    So…I´m just saying, really, I don´t see them winning champs. But I would love they will. Idon´t know…I´m a bandwagon at the end of the day. I don´t live in USA despite that I have support Miami Heat during 8 years.
    We as southamericans fans have rights. We don´t live in USA but despite that we like the game.

  7. @Mauricio:

    And I´m not the only one bandwagon because in the NBA are a lot bandwagons fans.

  8. @Mauricio:

    I don´t know if you read well what I wrote;

    I´m a bandwagon that is to say I´m just enjoy basketball when my team wins.
    I

  9. celentano says:

    Mark my words,this is the beginning of the most difficult goal! getting that 3-peat is more difficult than Heat-bandwagons expecting this season,ain’t gonaa be a cakewalk for sure.Check what PJ stated last week !Keeping that hunger is a tough mental question.And anything can happen for each team in the Nba!

  10. wycliffe says:

    the interesting thing about this game was that lebron James had to play almost the entire game to save the heat from being blown out

  11. Tyrone says:

    I’m rooting for JKidd to spoil Lebron’s title hopes once again, in the East Finals.

  12. mee(a)t says:

    They won by one….it says a lot when the superstar studded team leads by as many as what…18? and let their opponent come back within like 4 min.

  13. And I don´t want to talk about Heatnation…They really ….ks!!!!

  14. Im not a FAN HEAT. Im a bandwagon ..that´s it. I like the heat because they have good players. It´s the same in 90´s a liked Bulls cuz Jordan

    The Miami Heat is tired out and it seems a slowly and no ideas team. Honesty I don´t see them win this year.

    The truth is Spo really needs to go to somewhere else. THE MISSION HAS BEEN ACHIEVED; 2 TIMES CHAMPS IN A ROW.

    I say goodbay to support them. Honesty…Grom now on I won´t buy Nbatv and I won´t take care about what´s happen with The Heat. I got tired with them. That is it.

    • Mauricio says:

      I can see you have NO idea about basketball, I hope your soccer season start soon so you can leave us alone. Im a basketball fan and I just love the game and admire what all those players can do, you should enjoy the game and hate less the players

    • Jorge Millan says:

      Nothing wrong with being a band-wagoner, as defined in social media/sports talk. What this means is you enjoy a certain group of players, playing together or enjoy a particular player, regardless of the team he plays at. If you are tired of the Heat then it is also okay to jump the band-wagon, as it is also okay to not buy NBA-TV or any other product.

      Regarding Spoelstra and mission accomplished, I doubt he agrees with you. The Miami coach has won two championships and gone to the finals three times in a row and the “knowledgeable” people around the league still have not managed to find it in themselves to acknowledge his part on the process. People are too quick to equate LeBron James + Dwane Wade + Chris Bosh to championships, but it takes someone at the helm to steer the ship and make sure the other pieces click together.

      It may be a 3-peat, it may not. Regardless of the outcome, teams this year look more interesting than they looked on paper by the end of the pre-season.

  15. Cavs fan says:

    I know its not going to last for very long but seeing the heat lose 2 in a row does make me happy lol

  16. KingKong says:

    Amen……

  17. Michael Peloton says:

    First game between the two teams. The loss in my opinion doesn’t say a lot. Let’s just wait when the two teams meet in the playoffs. Although I must admit. Brooklyn, with the addition of pierce and KG, became a good team strong enough to challenge miami’s dominance in the east. At this point, it’s too early to tell. I personally want nba games to be as competitive as possible. It’s good for the nba fans and the viewing public.

  18. justine says:

    SCARY…

  19. Joe says:

    Miami will still come back they r just starting slow. Nothing wrong with that unless you don’t pick up the slack later in the season when it matters. #champs3inarow

  20. lol says:

    if only they were 5 years younger,they would be a REAL threat to the Heat, i dont think they can touch them in the playoffs

  21. pacquiaoverated says:

    the Bulls, Houston, Warriors, Pacers gonna destroy the nets, the brooklyn nets wannabes, garnet the most overrated player ever, will never ever get another ring mark that in stone. i guarantee that

  22. sleeplessbull says:

    in the end this seems a little unfair i think.. to be able to have such an expensive team and be able to go that deap!!! but on the other hand it was unfair to allow james bosh n wade to unit!
    to be honest… sure i want the Bulls to win it all but as long as the heat dont win i^m ok! ;)

    my predictions: Semis: Bulls-Pacers Nets-Miami!

  23. Swave says:

    This brooklyn team will be fun to watch this season..

  24. J says:

    the nets are gonna be a terrific team

  25. Ballerr says:

    They win by 1 and everything thinks they’re getting the trophy haha

    • CRWRobin says:

      They won by one point but this is only their second game playing together. I’m not saying they are going to win a championship, but as they get use to playing with each other, they will be very good.

  26. Kome the Black Dumba says:

    Nets got depth up front! Lopez got out, Blatche came in and then you still got Reggie Evans at the bench. This year’s playoffs is going to be interesting!

  27. dont get too excited…its too early

  28. IDOL says:

    GO ROCKETS!!!

  29. Romeo Aguirre says:

    I would love to see this group win at least one championship to see pierce, Garnett, and terry get another ring and willams and Jonson get there first but the time is now!!!!