Published March 12, 2014
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Miami Heat snapped a losing streak last time out, but they'll need to sharpen their play Wednesday night when the surging Brooklyn Nets visit AmericanAirlines Arena.
The Heat halted a three-game slide with a win over the Washington Wizards on Monday. All three losses came on the road and to quality opponents, but the Heat rebounded at home to start a four-game residency.
Dwyane Wade donated 22 points, including 13 in the fourth quarter, as the Heat clinched a playoff berth with a 99-90 win over the Wizards. It was Miami's sixth consecutive home victory and pushed its record to 25-4 as the host.
LeBron James supplied 23 points, eight assists and seven rebounds, while Chris Bosh added 22 points and seven boards for the Heat, who haven't lost four in a row since a five-game drought from Feb. 27-March 8, 2011.
Ray Allen chipped in 13 points for a Miami team which shot 50 percent from the field and forced 19 Washington turnovers.
"This is a game where we showed some growth," said Heat coach Erik Spoelstra. "The fact that we had to fight for it and compete for it against a playoff team that's playing good basketball was important."
Miami now trails the Indiana Pacers by just 1 1/2 games for the top spot in the Eastern Conference standings.
The Nets were supposed to be in the mix for that top seed in the East, but early struggles and injuries derailed things a bit.
But, Brooklyn has won two straight and six of its last seven. The Nets trail the Toronto Raptors by three games in the race for the Atlantic Division title.
On Monday, the Nets prevailed over the Raptors, 101-97 at Barclays Center.
Deron Williams and Shaun Livingston netted 18 points apiece and Paul Pierce tallied 15 points and four steals. Joe Johnson added 14 points and Alan Anders chipped in 11 for the Nets, who won eight in a row at home.
"Our crowd was unbelievable tonight," said Pierce. "It was probably the best I've heard them all year. It was a playoff atmosphere and they were really into it."
Kevin Garnett missed his sixth straight game with a back issue on Monday. He was scratched a few moments before tip, so he's inching closer to a return. Andrei Kirilenko also didn't play because of a sprained ankle.
The Nets have won both matchups this season with Miami, although both were in Brooklyn. Those wins snapped a 13-game losing streak for the Nets, who have dropped eight in a row in South Beach.