Nets forward Mikal Bridges (1) drives to the basket against...

Nets forward Mikal Bridges (1) drives to the basket against Miami Heat forward Nikola Jovic (5) and Miami Heat guard Kyle Lowry (7) during the first half at Barclays Center on Saturday, Nov. 25, 2023. Credit: Noah K. Murray

The third meeting this month between the Nets and Heat was anything but familiar. Injuries changed how both lineups looked Saturday.

The Nets were down three players. The Heat, playing the second night of a back-to-back, were down starters Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo and Duncan Robinson because of injury.

It gave the Nets an advantage they used in their 112-97 win at Barclays Center. After giving up 147 points in an overtime loss to the Hawks on Wednesday, the Nets turned up their defense to snap their losing streak at three.

All five starters scored in double figures and the Nets (7-8) forced a season-high-tying 18 turnovers. The Heat entered Saturday averaging the fifth-fewest turnovers per game but had 11 by halftime. The Nets also had 11 steals, their second-highest total this season.

“Just give our guys credit for continuing to work at it,” coach Jacque Vaughn said. “This is something new, getting our guys in different positions on the floor and taking calculated risks at certain times throughout the course of the game and possessions.

“Tonight we got rewarded for it.”

Vaughn said before the game that he wanted the Nets to be more physical and aggressive defensively. It showed near the start of the second half after Jaime Jaquez Jr. hit a layup for the Heat (10-6).

The Nets got consecutive steals from Mikal Bridges and Nic Claxton, with Claxton following his theft with a dunk off a lob pass from Spencer Dinwiddie. It was a near-perfect example of Vaughn wanting the Nets to turn defense into offense.

With the Heat shorthanded, the Nets trailed for only 26 seconds in the first quarter and led by double-digits nearly the entire second half.

“Games like these, when you have guys missing on the opposing team, especially their high-level guys missing, easy to come into this game [and] not have the right focus and mindset,” Vaughn said. “I thought our guys were pretty much locked in at the beginning of the game.”

Claxton led the defensive effort with three blocks and two steals, one of four starters to have multiple steals.

Bridges followed up his 45-point game Wednesday with 24 points, six rebounds and three assists. Dinwiddie had 14 points and 11 assists and became the third Nets player since the ABA-NBA merger to have at least 1,500 assists and 500 made three-pointers.

Cam Johnson had 19 points, a season-high 10 rebounds and five assists. “Just guys finding me in the right position, staying aggressive,” he said. “I think an emphasis today was just to come out and make a statement from the beginning and make them have to climb an uphill battle.”

Claxton, who had 13 points and six rebounds, briefly left the game after taking a hard fall in the first quarter. He walked on his own to the locker room, returned in the second quarter and finished the game.

Nets rookies Dariq Whitehead and Noah Clowney made their NBA debuts with 2:35 remaining in the game. Clowney grabbed his first rebound and Whitehead, who had offseason foot surgery after his freshman year at Duke, made a block and scored his first NBA point on a free throw.

“You got to believe and have a certain level of will to be successful in this league,” Dinwiddie said. “So breaking the losing streak, understanding we took a couple tough losses, being a little resilient and hopefully getting some of that momentum.”

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