Starting five: Can Nets take the Heat?

The Brooklyn Nets went 0-3 against the Miami Heat last season, losing those three games by an average of 21 points.

You figure it can’t really get worse than that.

And the Nets feel like, given the additions of Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce, they’ll be able to compete with the Heat this season.

“We’ve been in those playoff wars against those guys,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra told reporters Wednesday, thinking back to when KG and Pierce were members of the Boston Celtics, according to the Sun-Sentinel. “That’s why we have ultimate respect for players like that, teams that we’ve battled against in the playoffs. They had a terrific offseason. That doesn’t happen often where you're able to put that many All-Stars on the same team.”

Spoelstra later said: “They’re the type of veterans that also understand the big picture and what they’re playing for. In terms of chemistry and those issues, they’ll probably be able to fast-track that quite a bit with the type of guys they have. ... They should be able to pick it up pretty quick.”

Thursday night’s preseason game doesn’t count. It’s only a dress rehearsal.

Nevertheless, the Nets would like to show the Heat they’re for real. Miami may have the edge when it comes to superstar talent, but the Nets feel like they’ll have the edge on the interior.

The Eastern Conference contenders will meet again on Oct. 25 before facing one another in Brooklyn’s regular-season home opener on Nov. 1.

Congrats, J-Kidd: Jason Kidd will have his No. 5 jersey retired prior to Thursday night’s game.

Injury update: No Deron Williams, Andrei Kirilenko and Jason Terry against the Heat, according to the team’s official media game notes.

Vegas likes the Nets: Bovada set Brooklyn’s over/under for wins at 52.5.

Top 3: Reggie Evans tweeted that he thinks Kobe Bryant is still a top-3 player. That was in reaction to Bryant coming in 25th in #NBARank. We’ll remind Evans that the voting was based on future projected performance as well. And remember, Bryant is coming off a serious injury. Still, expect Bryant to be motivated. Nothing like Kobe playing with a chip on his shoulder.

Tonight: Nets vs. Heat at Barclays Center. 8 p.m. tipoff. Should be a fun one.