Kings of New York: Heat start fast and finish off season sweep of Nets, 104-98



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MIAMI — Less than a half-hour before the Miami Heat left their locker room for warmups, they had no idea if Chris Andersen would be able to play.

He wound up starting and starring.

Dwyane Wade scored 28 points and added nine assists, Andersen — taking suspended center Hassan Whiteside's spot in the lineup — tied a career high with 18 points and set a season high with 14 rebounds, and the Heat completed a season sweep of the Brooklyn Nets with a 104-98 victory Wednesday night.

"When I know I've got to step up, I'll step up," said Andersen, who's dealing with a number of injuries, most recently a leg contusion. "And I'll try to get the job done."

He did more than try. Andersen made 8 of 9 shots, helped stake the Heat to a big early lead and helped them hang on in the final moments.

"He gives you everything he has," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. "That's what it's about right now in that locker room. Guys are fighting for each other. They're playing with pain for each other ... not for themselves, but for the next guy. You love to see that."

Goran Dragic added 17 points in his return to the Heat lineup. Miami went 7-0 against New York's teams this season — 4-0 against the Nets, 3-0 against the Knicks — and moved back into the No. 8 spot in the Eastern Conference playoff race, helped by Sacramento beating Charlotte earlier Wednesday night.

Deron Williams and Jarrett Jack each scored 18 points for the Nets. Brook Lopez finished with 15 points and 13 rebounds, Thaddeus Young had 15 points and Joe Johnson 12 for Brooklyn, which lost its fifth straight and saw its playoff chances further dwindle.

"You keep fighting until the end," Nets coach Lionel Hollins said. "As long as I have breath and as long as I'm coach, I'm going to keep fighting."

The Nets were within six midway through the third, but Miami ended the quarter on a 13-4 run to take an 82-67 lead. Jack scored 16 points in the fourth for Brooklyn, but the Nets never got closer than five in the final moments.

"It's definitely tough right now," Williams said. "It's not a good feeling. We had a chance to control our destiny and we're throwing it away."

Andersen had the first 10-point first quarter of his NBA career and Miami led by 18 in the first half before settling on a 62-51 lead at the break.

Andersen had 14 points — already a season high — by halftime, and some of the other banged-up Miami players came up big as well. Wade had 13 by halftime despite missing the shootaround earlier in the day because of headaches. Dragic returned to the lineup after a two-game absence because of a lower back contusion and had 12 points at intermission.

"We didn't play a great game," Wade said, "but we did enough."

Brooklyn shot 52 percent in the second half to Miami's 39 percent, but the Heat never ceded the lead.

TIP-INS

Nets: G-F Sergey Karasev's season officially ends Thursday when he has surgery to repair a torn medial collateral ligament, a dislocated patella and multiple loose bodies in his right knee. He was hurt in Brooklyn's loss to New Orleans on Tuesday. ... Alan Anderson (bruised tailbone) didn't play. ... The Nets went 4-0 against Miami in the 2013-14 regular season and are 1-8 against the Heat since.

Heat: Miami made its first nine shots. ... Chris Bosh (blood clots, out for season) was on the Miami bench for the second straight game. ... Miami had two turnovers in the first half, a season-low, and finished with a 26-9 edge in points off giveaways. ... Miami used its 27th starting lineup. Henry Walker has started five games — with five different lineups. ... Deng reached double-figures for the 600th time. ... Whiteside served his one-game suspension for elbowing Boston's Kelly Olynyk on Monday.

FLYING BIRD

It was the first double-double of the season for Andersen, and the 22nd of his career. The player known as "Birdman" came into Wednesday with one double-double in his last 236 games.

JOHNSON'S STRUGGLES

Johnson shot 3 for 11, making him 19 for 56 against the Heat this season — 34 percent.

UP NEXT

Nets: At Philadelphia on Saturday night.

Heat: At Toronto on Friday night.

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