Nets guard Armoni Brooks celebrates a three-point shot during the...

Nets guard Armoni Brooks celebrates a three-point shot during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Miami Heat, Wednesday, Nov. 1, 2023, in Miami.  Credit: AP/Wilfredo Lee

MIAMI — Injuries finally caught up to the Nets on Tuesday. With four players out, they called up two-way signees Jalen Wilson and Armoni Brooks from the G-League for extra depth.

The fourth quarter started with a patchwork lineup of Brooks, Ben Simmons, Royce O’Neale, Lonnie Walker IV and Trendon Watford. The lineup, coach Jacque Vaughn said, only played once together during one of the last preseason scrimmages

Yet the group rallied the Nets from an eight-point deficit for an improbable 109-105 win over the Heat Wednesday at Kaseya Center.

In just over six minutes, that lineup went on a 19-7 run that put the Nets (2-2) ahead for the starters to finish the job.

Brooks didn’t play an NBA game last season yet had 17 points in his Nets debut. He practiced with the Long Island Nets Tuesday, arrived in Miami around 7 p.m. and one night later, he made 6 of 7 field goals, including five three-pointers, against the defending Eastern Conference champions.

“It just all comes down to your preparation, your work ethic, teammates and coaching staff having trust in you,” said Brooks, whose last NBA regular season game was April 10, 2022. “Whenever you get that opportunity, just try your best to take advantage of it.”

Brooks’ final three-pointer started a 11-0 run that ended with the Nets taking a 89-86 lead, their first since the second quarter. Watford, also making his Nets debut, capped the run with a three-pointer.

Vaughn said Watford would play point guard behind Simmons with Spencer Dinwiddie (sprained ankle) and Dennis Smith (hip contusion) ruled out before the game, Watford did just that and finished with 11 points, four assists and four rebounds.

It was needed after the Nets trailed by 16 in the first quarter, shot just 26.1% in the second and was down by 15 points in the third.

“I think we had a lineup out there that could switch one through five,” said Watford, who signed with the Nets this offseason but his contract wasn’t guaranteed until the season opener.

“With Bam Adebayo being down low, we just had to rebound. So I think we did a pretty good job of keeping them in front and you know, holding them to one possession.”

The Nets held the Heat to just 22 fourth-quarter points and outrebounded them 16-8 in the period.

Leading 98-97 with 3:24 left, Mikal Bridges took over to close the game. He snatched an offensive rebound with one hand and scored on a putback while being fouled. The three-point play started Bridges scoring or assisting on the Nets’ final 11 points, including four free throws in the final 11 seconds.

Bridges finished with 21 points, seven rebounds and five assists.

The rally also seemed unlikely after a sloppy first half. The Nets scored just 17 points in the second quarter and Cam Thomas shot just 1-for-11 by halftime.

Simmons struggled early with three first-quarter fouls. Yet he had just one foul the rest of the game and had six of his team-high 11 rebounds in the fourth.

Dorian Finney-Smith had 15 points and Walker added 17 points off the bench. Thomas had 13, ending his streak of three consecutive 30-point games.

But the night belonged to the players not expected to contribute much this season. With Brooks and Watford leading the way, it was a resilient win for a short-handed Nets team.

“For us not to be at full strength and for us not to worry about that but to step up to the challenge is huge for this group,” Vaughn said.

“These are games where you can reflect back to throughout the course of the year.”

More Brooklyn Nets

Newsday LogoSUBSCRIBEUnlimited Digital AccessOnly 25¢for 5 months
ACT NOWSALE ENDS SOON | CANCEL ANYTIME