When the Brooklyn Nets first met the Miami Heat in December, they entered the game appearing to be one of the season's breakout teams. What happened next isn't easy to forget: 10 losses in 13 games, culminated by the firing of a head coach that had been awarded by the league for his efforts just weeks prior.
On Wednesday, the Nets once again lace up to face the Heat, and frankly, the situation isn't all that different. The Nets again appear to be breaking out in the East -- they've won 13 of their past 17 games since replacing coach Avery Johnson with P.J. Carlesimo -- but Miami stands in the way, happy to offer up another not-so-tasty dose of reality.
Now, to be fair, these aren't the same Nets that were dropping game after game in early December as fans wondered what the heck was wrong with Deron Williams. After a brutal start to the season, Williams has regained his shooting stroke (44 percent from three-point range in January), while big men Brook Lopez and Andray Blatche continue to be efficient scorers in the post.
But the Nets have struggled badly in two games against Miami this season, leaving some room to wonder whether the Heat simply has this team's number. The Nets managed to rebound from a 103-73 loss to the Heat in their third game of the season, yet they spiraled out of control following a 102-89 loss roughly a month later.
Wednesday's game begins at 8 p.m. ET, broadcast nationally on ESPN.
Home Court Advantage
While the Nets looked awfully bad in their first two games against the Heat this season, they're somewhat forgiven considering both of those games were played in South Beach. Heading back to Brooklyn to face the Heat on Wednesday night should give the team a nice boost compared to those games.
The Nets have taken well to their new digs at Barclays Center this season, winning 17 of their first 24 games in the arena, but they haven't had the same success on the road.
And as good as Miami is, the Heat have often looked vulnerable on the road this season. Miami is just 10-10 away from home, with road losses against the Indiana Pacers, Portland Trail Blazers, Utah Jazz and Boston Celtics this month.