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Nets to face Heat in hopes of winning fifth straight

Brooklyn looking to complete perfect four-game homestand
01/10/2014 1:10 AM ET
By The Associated Press

Joe Johnson and the Nets will look to win their fifth straight game when they play the Heat on Friday.(AP)
(AP) -- The Brooklyn Nets have been through their share of adversity, with the latest setback being an injury to Deron Williams.

They've been hot lately, though, and will look to complete a perfect homestand while winning a fifth straight game as they host the Miami Heat on Friday night.

Brooklyn (14-21) has been one of the most disappointing teams in the league under first-year coach Jason Kidd, who has squabbled with assistant Lawrence Frank and was fined for deliberately spilling a drink to delay a loss to the Los Angeles Lakers on Nov. 27.

Brook Lopez is out for the season after having surgery for a broken foot, and Williams has missed the last two games and is expected to miss at least the next two with an ankle injury.

Joe Johnson picked up the slack Wednesday, scoring 27 points to help the Nets end Golden State's 10-game winning streak with a 102-98 victory. They've won the first three on their four-game homestand.

"The confidence is in the fight," said Kevin Garnett, who had 11 of his 13 points in the fourth quarter. "Jason's done a great job of just continuing to explain what he wants out of this offense and I think we're picking it up slowly but surely."

Brooklyn, which won five of its first 14 at home before winning its last four at Barclays Center, trailed by as many as 16.

"We got down, but we didn't give in," said Andray Blatche, who had 17 points off the bench. "We continued to fight and we closed it out."

Paul Pierce, who added 11, hopes the Nets' streak is a sign they are turning things around.

"We've just gotta keep building," Pierce said.

Before the team's troubles, Brooklyn beat Miami 101-100 at home Nov. 1 behind 19 points apiece from Johnson and Pierce to end a 13-game losing streak in the series.

The Heat will look to avenge that defeat while bouncing back from Thursday's 102-92 loss to New York that ended their three-game winning streak.

LeBron James scored 32 points and Dwyane Wade added 23, but Miami (27-9) played without Mario Chalmers for a second straight game due to a right Achilles strain. Shane Battier sat out a fourth consecutive contest to nurse a strained left quadriceps.

Miami didn't have much to say after the loss.

"They played a great game," said James, who had 26 points in the first meeting with the Nets. "They made some timely shots."

Coach Erik Spoelstra seemed ready to move on quickly.

"All I know about this game is they outplayed us and they earned that win," Spoelstra said.

Wade missed all six of his free throws after sitting out the morning shootaround to rest his knees. He was cleared to play later in the day, but he seemed peeved when asked about his misses at the line.

"I only missed six," Wade said. "I didn't miss 20. It wasn't that damn bad."

Norris Cole was the only other player in double figures with 12, as Chris Bosh went 3 for 10 from the field and scored six points. Bosh is averaging 8.7 points while shooting 30.8 percent over his last three.

He's averaged 12.3 points and shot 38.5 percent in his last four against the Nets.

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