In the absence of injured superstar Kevin Durant, who exited after four minutes with a left thigh contusion, Landry Shamet came off the bench to score a career-high 30 points and lead a fourth-quarter comeback that gave the Nets a six-point lead, but that’s where they ran out of gas.
The Heat scored the final eight points of the game, including a buzzer-beating 13-foot jumper by Bam Adebayo, for a 109-107 victory over the Nets on Sunday afternoon at American Airlines Arena in Miami.
The Nets missed their final five shots, including three by Kyrie Irving, who had a tough 6-for-19 shooting effort because of all the attention he got from the Heat’s defense after Durant left the game.
The 6-9 Adebayo’s dagger from the left of the lane was well-contested by Jeff Green. "It was a tough shot," the 6-8 Green said. "If I was like 7-2, maybe I would have had a better chance of blocking it, but Bam is a good player, great player. He made a tough shot. You live with it and move on."
There were 20 lead changes and the score was tied 11 times, but the Nets put together a 15-2 run that included back-to-back threes by Shamet and built a 107-101 lead on a pair of free throws by Irving with 3:31 left. The Heat tied the score at 107 on Goran Dragic’s layup and Irving missed a jumper at the other end before Adebayo hit the buzzer-beating game-winner.
Reflecting on the faltering finish, Irving blamed himself for relying on isolation plays too much. "That’s where it falls on me as the point guard," he said. "It’s just being able to slow the game down and make sure we get a definite two or we get a great shot.
"We all know how I can get to a spot anywhere on the court, but when they’re doubling and tripling like that down the stretch, I could have saved it a little bit more and played off the guys.
"As I look back on it, I’m looking at it like, ‘Why did I not get something open for Landry?’ Guy’s got 30 points. We should go with the hot hand. But you learn after the games, it’s 20/20. Moving forward, we’re definitely looking forward to him getting better and finding spots."
Shamet shot 10-for-15, including 7-for-12 from three-point range. Irving added 20 points and nine assists for the Nets (38-19), who committed 18 turnovers leading to 20 Heat points.
Adebayo topped six Heat players in double figures with 21 points and 15 rebounds. Dragic added 18 and Kendrick Nunn had 17. The Heat (29-28) outrebounded the Nets 56-45 and outscored them 25-12 on second-chance points.
The Heat were playing without All-Star Jimmy Butler, who sat out with a sprained ankle, and were coming off three straight road losses, but they obviously were amped to come out of the gate quickly. They made eight of their first 10 three-point attempts to build a 30-24 lead near the end of the first quarter, and they reached halftime with a 64-60 lead after making 12 of 20 threes.
Coach Steve Nash praised the Nets for playing more physical defense in the second half, when they held the Heat to 45 points, but he said they weren’t sharp offensively at the end.
"We’re kind of designed to create space for [Irving’s midrange shots], but we never really got sharp and we left him having really tough looks over a defense that was loaded to him, a couple of times with Adebayo’s length on him,’’ Nash said. "So we’ve got to do a better job of getting that right matchup and also getting into our sets to create space for him."