|(NBA) Shorthanded Nets outlast champs Heat for third time
Paul Pierce (Pictured) tallied 17 of his 29 points in the third quarter as the Brooklyn Nets continued their mastery over reigning US National Basketball Association champ Miami Heat with a nail-biting 96-95 win in Miami, Florida.
The 36-year-old Pierce paced the offense for the Nets who have beaten the Heat in all three meetings this season and snapped an eight-game losing steak at AmericanAirlines Arena.
Miami had the ball after a timeout with 3.5 seconds left, but Shaun Livingston knocked away a pass that was intended for LeBron James in front of the basket to ice the victory in front of a crowd of 19,616.
Pierce said two-time defending champs Heat have lost their “fear factor.''
“On that last play, we got the steal and let the clock run out,'' Pierce said. ``We know when we play good team defence that we can beat them now.
“They used to have that fear factor. When we are on our game we can come in here and get a win.''
Both previous wins over the Heat this season were in New York. Brooklyn edged the Heat 101-100 on November 1 as part of their 5-14 start and then won 104-95 in double overtime on January 10.
Despite a slow start to the season, the Nets are hoping that this nine-game home win streak will give them confidence down the stretch and into the postseason.
The Nets played without Garnett who missed his seventh straight game on Wednesday. Andrei Kirilenko also didn't play because of a sprained ankle.
Chris Bosh tallied 24 points while Dwyane Wade scored 22 for the Heat who have lost four of their last five games.
James finished with just 19 points on six-of-13 shooting from the field for the Heat, who had their six-game home winning streak halted.
Miami clinched a playoff berth with a 99-90 win over the Washington Wizards in their last outing.