Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 12/1/12
MIAMI -- Dwyane Wade said he rode 20 miles on his bike Friday night, and, 24 hours later, the hard work paid off. Wade scored a season-high 34 points to help the Heat defeat Brooklyn, 102-89, Saturday night, marking their 12th consecutive win over the Nets. The Heat overcame a 14-point first-half deficit, the largest disadvantage they have overcome all season. Heat coach Erik Spoelstra called it a "step-forward game" and in some ways his team's best win of the season. He also raved about Wade. "Dwyane's been putting in a tremendous amount of work," Spoelstra said. "He was here 4 1/2 hours before the game, shooting and making his adjustments." Wade had not played up to his lofty standards this season, mostly because of injuries. For example, he missed three of six games on the Heat's most recent road trip. But Spoelstra kept the faith in Wade, who made 14 of 20 shots, dished out seven assists and had zero turnovers in 34 minutes. Making Wade's night even more impressive is the revelation by Spoelstra that he called only "two or three" plays for his star guard in the entire game. "There was no thought on our minds to panic (on Wade)," the Spoelstra said. "He's had some minor injuries. It takes time to get in the flow. But I've known Dwyane for 10 years. I know how dedicated he is to doing it for his brothers. "Dwyane is a rhythm player. The more he plays, the better he gets." Wade said the key was the Heat's defense in the second half. "We're in December, and we know we have to start playing better defense," said Wade, who started the 600th game of his career on Saturday. "We played a very talented team (in the Nets)." Nets guard Joe Johnson said Wade just got loose. "He was knocking down his jump shots," Johnson said. "He kind of got away from us. In the third quarter, we maybe should have trapped him. But that's not what beat us. We hurt ourselves." Johnson was referring to the Nets' 18 turnovers, but there's no question the Heat had a lot to do with that as well. Wade's efforts were supported by LeBron James, who had 21 points, 9 rebounds and 6 assists. Ray Allen came off the bench to score 13 points, and reserve guard Norris Cole had his best game of the season with 12 points and a game-high three steals. If there was a surprise individually for the Heat it was forward Chris Bosh, who had only eight points and two rebounds in 30 minutes. Bosh, though, realized this was Wade's night. "We know what he is capable of when he is healthy," Bosh said. "This is a league where you have to prove yourself constantly." The win was the Heat's eighth in a row at home to start the season, a franchise record. The Knicks (6-0) and Jazz (6-0) are the only other NBA teams still unbeaten at home this season. In the overall standings, the Heat (12-3) remain atop the Eastern Conference and have won six games in a row. The Nets (11-5), who came in tied for second with the Knicks, had their five-game win streak snapped. Center Andray Blatche, who started in place of injured center Brook Lopez, led the Nets with 20 points. Point guard Deron Williams had a game-high 13 assists. But the Nets, who had 59 points at the half, were held to 30 points after intermission. "It was a tale of two halves," Nets coach Avery Johnson said. "We seemed to wear down a little bit and made mistakes that are uncharacteristic of us." To Johnson's point, the Nets had seven turnovers in the first half and six in the third quarter alone. The Nets had entered the game on a 10-2 roll since losing by 30 points to the Heat at home on Nov. 7. The Nets talked before Saturday's game about redeeming themselves, but it did not happen. "We probably missed 10 wide-open threes tonight," Avery Johnson said. The Heat, who trailed the entire first half, took control in the third quarter, ending the period on a 17-6 run. James, who didn't get his first field goal until 5:24 remained in the first half, had nine points in the third quarter. Nets forward Gerald Wallace was defiant when asked about the gap that separates the Heat from his team. "What gap?" Wallace shot back, although, on this night, the answer was simple: 13 points. NOTES: The Heat's 12 straight wins over the Nets is their longest current mastery of an opponent. ... Spoelstra was called for a technical foul in the second quarter. He apparently thought Wade was fouled under the basket and was upset when no violation was called. ... Next up for the Nets is their second straight game against a 2012 NBA finalist when it hosts Oklahoma City on Tuesday. ... Lopez, who is averaging a team-high 18.5 points and 6.8 rebounds, missed the Heat game due to a sprained right foot. Johnson said "it would take a miracle" for Lopez to be able to play Tuesday. ... Heat starting forward Shane Battier (sprained right knee) missed his second straight game. Rashard Lewis started in his place for the second game in a row. ... The Heat play at lowly Washington (1-13) on Tuesday before returning home to face the 11-4 Knicks on Thursday night. The Knicks beat the Heat in New York, 104-84, earlier this season.
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