NEW YORK — Before they can think about beating Miami in the playoffs, the Brooklyn Nets had to show they could do it in a game.
By the time they ended 4½ years of futility, the only losing streak belonged to Miami — for the first time in 10 months.
Paul Pierce and Joe Johnson scored 19 points each, and the Nets ended a 13-game skid against the Heat and sent the NBA champions to consecutive losses for the first time since January with a 101-100 victory Friday night.
“It was good that we got a taste of this type of atmosphere this early in the season to try to see where we’re at,” Pierce said. “Miami, whenever they come into town, they’re a measuring stick for everybody, so it was good for us to come out and get the win.”
Pierce and Johnson both hit two free throws in the final seconds as the Heat were trying to pull off a comeback. Instead, they fell to 1-2 and have dropped two in a row for the first time since Jan. 8 and 10.
The Heat got Dwyane Wade back after he missed Wednesday’s loss in Philadelphia, and he scored 21 points. LeBron James led Miami with 26 points as the Heat again fell far behind and couldn’t catch up.
“What you’ve done in the past doesn’t mean you can make it happen in the present, so we’ve just got to have a little more sense of urgency,” James said. “It’s not doomsday right now. We’re good, but we understand what we need to fix and correct.”
The Nets ended a 13-game skid against the Heat with their first victory since March 20, 2009, before Miami’s Big Three got together and when the Nets were still playing in East Rutherford, N.J. — two homes ago.
Deron Williams, who came to the Nets two years later, said he wasn’t aware of the skid until seeing it on TV earlier Friday.
“You don’t want to have those types of losing streaks to any franchise,” he said, “so it was definitely on our mind.”
Brooklyn, bigger and deeper, opened an 11-point lead after three quarters and kept the lead right around there until the final 2 minutes. Then Miami ran off 10 straight, cutting it to 96-94 with 18 seconds left after consecutive 3-pointers by Wade and Mario Chalmers.
James later nailed a 3-pointer from the corner to cut it to 99-98 with 4.7 seconds remaining before Johnson hit two free throws. Chris Bosh was fouled and after making the first appeared to try and miss the second, but it went in and the Heat couldn’t commit another foul in time.
The Nets bounced back from a season-opening loss in Cleveland by winning in their second and final game without first-year coach Jason Kidd, suspended two games by the NBA after pleading guilty in a drunken driving case.
James heated up late for his 21st straight 20-point game against the Nets. Only Michael Jordan had a longer streak, with 39 in a row from 1984-95.
Miami had bounced back with a win after every loss since following a Jan. 8 defeat to Indiana with another loss two nights later in Portland. But the Nets seized control in the third quarter behind 11 points from Pierce, holding the Heat without a basket for nearly 6 minutes and building just enough of a lead.
“This ain’t nothing new. We’ve dealt with this before. This story line continues,” Wade said. “At the end of the day, we want to play better. We would love to play better, obviously the start, the first and the third, but we had a chance to win the game. We have to find a way to pull it out.”
The Heat swept three games against the Nets last season by an average of 21 points, the series appearing more lopsided than ever.
Getting Kevin Garnett and Pierce from Boston should change that, as well as whatever pleasantries might have existed between the teams. Garnett said James should worry about the Heat and stay out of Celtics business last month after James made some critical comments about their departure from Boston, and James refused to answer any questions about the Nets before the game Friday, saying Garnett told him not to talk about other teams.
Brooklyn got eight points in 12 minutes from Andrei Kirilenko after he missed the opener with back spasms. Fellow newcomer Alan Anderson also had eight points, while Andray Blatche led the reserves with nine.
TIMBERWOLVES 100, THUNDER 81
MINNEAPOLIS — Kevin Love had 24 points and 12 rebounds and Ricky Rubio added 14 points, 10 assists and five steals to lead Minnesota over Oklahoma City.
Nikola Pekovic had 15 points and 10 rebounds for Minnesota, which played surprisingly good defense against Kevin Durant and the Thunder. Derrick Williams had 10 points and seven rebounds for Minnesota after not playing in the opener.
Durant scored 13 points on 4-for-11 shooting and had trouble finding clean look against a Timberwolves team that was supposed to be porous on defense. But the Thunder shot 35 percent and turned the ball over 21 times to get run out of the building.
ROCKETS 113, MAVERICKS 105
HOUSTON — James Harden scored 34 points and Dwight Howard had 13 points and 16 rebounds in Houston’s victory over Dallas.
The Mavericks scored eight straight points, with five from Monta Ellis, to get to 91-83 with eight minutes left. But Dallas lost its star and momentum a couple minutes later when Dirk Nowitzki fouled out on Harden’s fast-break layup.
Harden made the free throw as Nowitzki angrily took a seat on the bench. Houston made three more layups after Harden’s basket to extend the lead to 16 at 99-83.
BOBCATS 90, CAVALIERS 84
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Kemba Walker had 23 points and seven assists to help Charlotte beat Cleveland Cavaliers in its home opener.
Walker hit a 3-pointer over Kyrie Irving with 58 seconds left to break a tie.
The Cavaliers had two chances to tie, but Charlotte’s Josh McRoberts came up with a steal and Jarrett Jack had an air-ball on a 3-pointer with 12 seconds left.
Bismack Biyombo filled in for injured center Al Jefferson and had 11 points on 5-of-6 shooting and added 10 rebounds for Charlotte.
CJ Miles had 22 points, and Tristan Thompson added 21 for the Cavaliers. Irving had 16 points on 7-of-17 shooting.
BLAZERS 113, NUGGETS 98
DENVER — LaMarcus Aldridge scored nine of his 25 points in the fourth quarter to help Portland hold off Denver and spoil the home debut of Nuggets coach Brian Shaw and snap their 23-game regular-season home win streak.
Nicolas Batum and Wesley Matthews each added 21 as the Blazers opened up a 26-point lead late in the third quarter, only to see the Nuggets slice the deficit to single digits in the fourth. Matthews hit a 3-pointer late to give the Blazers some breathing room and hand the Nuggets a rare loss at Pepsi Center.
GRIZZLIES 111, PISTONS 108
MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Mike Conley scored 22 points, Zach Randolph and Tony Allen added 16 each and Memphis beat Detroit in overtime for its first victory of the season.
Memphis outscored the Pistons 11-2 to start the extra period. Marc Gasol added 15 points for Memphis and Randolph had 10 rebounds.
Josh Smith and Rodney Stuckey led Detroit with 19 points each, although Smith was 7 of 23 from the field. Will Bynum had 18 points, while Greg Monroe finished with 16 for the Pistons and Andre Drummond had 12 points and 16 rebounds.
76ERS 109, WIZARDS 102
WASHINGTON — Thaddeus Young scored 29 points, rookie Michael Carter-Williams started cold and finished hot while John Wall did just the opposite in scoring 26 points, and Philadelphia is a surprising 2-0 after pulling away in the fourth quarter to beat Washington.
After stunning the two-time defending champion Miami Heat on Wednesday, the 76ers rallied from a 12-point second-half deficit and ruined the home opener for Wall and the Wizards.
Young scored 10 in the fourth quarter, Evan Turner finished with 23 points, and Spencer Hawes had 16 points and 14 rebounds for the 76ers. Carter-Williams went 6 for 15 from the field after an 0-for-5 start and finished with 14 points and five assists.
MAGIC 110, PELICANS 90
ORLANDO, Fla. — Arron Afflalo scored 30 points and Maurice Harkless added 20 points and eight rebounds in leading Orlando to the rout of New Orleans.
Anthony Davis led winless New Orleans with 26 points and 17 rebounds, while Jrue Holiday added 17 points and five assists.
Orlando seized control in the second quarter when Harkless scored 12 points and the Magic limited New Orleans to 6-of-21 shooting on their way to a 53-35 halftime lead.
Afflalo, who had 15 points in the third quarter, led Orlando on a 13-3 run that he ended with a 3-pointer. The guard was 4 for 5 on 3-pointers, all in the second half, as Orlando built leads as big as 30 points.
BUCKS 105, CELTICS 98
BOSTON — Zaza Pachulia had 20 points and nine rebounds, making two free throws with 44 seconds left to give Milwaukee its first lead since the opening basket, and the Bucks rallied from a 22-point third-quarter deficit to beat Boston.
The loss spoiled the home debut of new Celtics coach Brad Stevens and dampened the cheer following the Red Sox victory in the World Series on Wednesday. Red Sox owners John Henry and Tom Werner took the court before the game with the World Series trophy, and Hall of Famer Bill Russell was also courtside a few hours after a statue of him was unveiled near City Hall.
John Henson had 14 points and nine rebounds for the Bucks, who scored the last 10 points of the game.
HAWKS 102, RAPTORS 95
ATLANTA — Al Horford scored 22 points, three other Atlanta starters reached double figures in a victory over Toronto that gave coach Mike Budenholzer his first victory.
The Hawks built an 18-point lead late in the third quarter, then held off a Raptors comeback in the final period. Jeff Teague and Kyle Korver had 17 points apiece, while Paul Millsap added 15.
Budenholzer, a long-time assistant in San Antonio, coached hard right to the end, arguing with the officials over a kicked-ball ruling even with the game in hand. When the horn sounded, he gave a quick wave to Raptors coach Dwane Casey, hugged Elton Brand and headed to the locker room with a big smile.
SPURS 91, LAKERS 85
LOS ANGELES — Tony Parker had 24 points and six assists, Kawhi Leonard added 15 points and 11 rebounds, and San Antonio beat Los Angeles without Tim Duncan.
Parker hit the tiebreaking jumper with 2:13 to play, and Manu Ginobili capped his 20-point performance off the bench with a key defensive play and a dunk in the final seconds of the Spurs’ road opener.
Duncan sat out after bruising his chest in Wednesday’s season-opening victory over Memphis. Boris Diaw hit a key 3-pointer with 1:40 to play and scored 14 points while starting in his place.
CLIPPERS 110, KINGS 101
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Chris Paul had 26 points and 10 assists for his third straight double-double, and Los Angeles came back after blowing a 15-point lead in the second half to beat Sacramento.
Blake Griffin added 20 points, 17 rebounds and six assists while reserve Jamal Crawford had 18 points for the Clippers, who have won two straight since a season-opening loss to the Lakers.
Six players scored in double figures for Los Angeles, which trailed 92-90 midway through the fourth quarter before going ahead for good on a 3-pointer by Paul. The Clippers’ point guard had nine points over the final 6 minutes.
By Wire sources