LeBron James openly wondered why the Nets never played this intensely for ex-coach Avery Johnson, while Brooklyn's Reggie Evans questioned how any win over the Heat should be considered a big deal.
And this was before Wednesday night's tipoff at Barclays Center.
Owner Mikhail Prokhorov had a courtside seat for the entire carnival as his Nets fought to a halftime tie – only to be torched by Miami's huge third-quarter surge in a 105-85 Heat victory.
James scored 10 of his 24 points as the Heat outscored Brooklyn, 36-14, in the third quarter.
Miami (29-13) completed a 3-0 season sweep of Brooklyn (27-19), which had its eight-game home winning streak snapped.
"We were hanging. But when the bubble burst, it burst completely," said interim coach P.J. Carlesimo, lamenting the Nets' failure to match the Heat's second-half energy.
The Nets, who are 17-0 versus teams with sub-.500 records at the time of play, have lost 13 straight games to Miami dating to 2009.
"We're just disappointed in ourselves," said Brook Lopez, the newly named All-Star center. "We really let this one get away."
Brooklyn had been shut out from the Feb. 17 All-Star Game at Houston until commissioner David Stern replaced injured Celtic Rajon Rondo with Lopez on Wednesday.
"I couldn't have done it without my teammates. They make my job 100 times easier," said Lopez, who led Brooklyn with 21 points while Dwayne Wade (21) and Chris Bosh (16) helped pace Miami. "It's something that I've been working toward and it's been a goal of mine."
Nets no match for Heat in 105-85 loss
Bergen Record | Jan 31