Nets send Heat to 18th loss in 19 games
MIAMI (AP) -- Dwyane Wade chatted with fellow Eastern Conference All-Star starter Jason Kidd more than once Friday night, emerging from those discussions with a smile.
"I told him pass me the ball in the All-Star Game," Wade said.
Hey, there might not be much else for Miami's star guard to look forward to this season.
Richard Jefferson scored 25 points, Josh Boone added 15 and the New Jersey Nets ended a seven-game road losing streak with a 94-85 victory over the Heat -- now the not-so-proud owners of the league's worst record.
Vince Carter had 14 points and 11 rebounds and Kidd finished with 11 points and 12 assists for the Nets, who have won two straight following a nine-game losing streak.
"Anytime we can pass the ball and knock shots down like we did, we're tough to beat," Kidd said.
Miami's loss, combined with Minnesota's 104-83 win over the Los Angeles Clippers, gave the Timberwolves (10-36) a half-game edge over the Heat (9-36) in the race to occupy the NBA basement.
"Defensively, we were deplorable, with a real lack of focus individually on certain plays, layups or lobs or just things that we walk through on a regular basis that we know how to play and that we have absolutely lost our focus on," Heat coach Pat Riley said. "And those are big baskets."
Wade, who returned after missing Wednesday's loss at Orlando with the flu, finished with 15 points, seven rebounds and six assists. Alexander Johnson scored 14 points on 6-for-6 shooting, and Mark Blount also finished with 14 for Miami.
And after 18 losses in Miami's last 19 games, frustration isn't merely settling in. It's boiling over.
Wade, upset after not drawing a foul call after getting hit while shooting a jumper midway through the final quarter, grabbed Jefferson to stop the Nets' next possession and argued his case to referee Eric Lewis, to no avail.
"That was a foul," Wade said. "Most of the time, I can let things go all game, but when I think it's blatant I'm going to say something."
Wade then headed to the Miami bench, throwing down a towel. He didn't, however, throw in the towel.
His three-point play with 4:35 left got the Heat within 85-76, but Wade lost the ball on Miami's next possession while trying to split three defenders.
New Jersey got a fast break, Carter got a three-point play, and the Nets weren't in real trouble again.
"It is good to get two wins, regardless of the situation," Jefferson said. "But we still have a long way to go."
Jason Williams finished with 12 points, Ricky Davis scored 11 and Luke Jackson added 10 for the Heat.
New Jersey entered as the NBA's second-lowest scoring team this season, averaging 93.6 points, and wasn't even on that dismal pace in the first half. The Nets shot only 40 percent and managed just 43 points.
Of course, against the worst-scoring team in the league, that was enough for a 12-point lead at the break.
Miami scored only 10 points in the second quarter and 31 points in the first half, both new season lows for a team that's had almost nothing but low points all season.
Kidd made a 3-pointer with 9:46 left in the third to push New Jersey's lead to 49-35, before Miami scored 12 points in the next 2 minutes to get right back in the game. Davis' two free throws after a clear-path foul cut the Nets' lead to 51-47.
But Miami started sputtering again, made only one field goal over the next three minutes, and New Jersey held a 70-60 lead entering the final quarter. The only third-quarter bright spot for Miami was Johnson, who made all four of his shots while his teammates went 6-for-15.
"We did a really good job with the pick-and-roll defense as a team," Nets coach Lawrence Frank said. "I thought it was a good team win."
Amid reports that he was on the cusp of being traded to Memphis for Stromile Swift, Jason Collins had six points in 18 minutes for the Nets. Collins may indeed be expendable; New Jersey expects to have center Nenad Krstic, who has played in only 12 games this season because of knee trouble, in uniform at Atlanta on Saturday. "A silent hero in this game was Jason Collins," Frank said, perhaps in a final tribute. ... With the shot clock running down midway through the second quarter, Wade knocked the ball away from Carter twice before the Nets' guard regained control and airballed a 30-footer. Wade looked at him and grinned. ... Quote of the day comes from Wade, when asked about O'Neal's Super Bowl commercial for vitaminwater, in which the 7-foot-1, 325-pound center plays a jockey: "Is the horse on him or is he on the horse?"
Regular Season Series
NJ Wins 2-1
- Greg Willard
- Bennie Adams
- Eric Lewis
2022-23 Southeast Standings