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Nets edge Heat on last-second defensive gem
Miami, FL (SportsNetwork.com) - LeBron James had the ball in his hands, but was unable to muscle past Mason Plumlee at the rim.
The rookie forward roared exuberantly, while James watched in disbelief looking for a foul.
Plumlee's game-saving block helped the Brooklyn Nets edge the Miami Heat, 88-87, on Tuesday night to finish off their first season sweep of the two-time defending champs in 11 years.
It was the third time Brooklyn got past Miami by a point. The other victory came in double overtime. The Nets are the only NBA team the Heat have not beaten this season.
With the Nets up 88-87, Joe Johnson misfired on a step-back right wing 3- pointer with the shot clock running down and 10 seconds remaining. Ray Allen secured the rebound and gave it up to James, who charged down the lane and took off for a dunk.
Plumlee, though, contested it and time expired as Miami argued for a foul.
Johnson netted 19 points, while Marcus Thornton added 16 points, six rebounds and four steals off the bench for the Nets, who have won six of their last seven games.
James provided 29 points, 10 boards and six assists for Miami, which leads the Indiana Pacers by one-half game for the top seed in the Eastern Conference with a matchup looming between the heavyweights on Friday.
Thornton swished a triple from the right corner and Johnson got a tough floater to fall to cap a 9-2 flurry to stake the Nets to an 86-82 lead with 1:01 left.
James drove in for a three-point play at the other end before Plumlee converted a layup following Deron Williams' penetration down the lane and dish to the big man underneath. Chris Bosh's dunk off a James feed got Miami within 88-87 with 34.2 ticks to play.
Earlier, Thornton concluded an early 12-1 Brooklyn burst with a triple to give it a 14-7 margin a little past the midway portion of the opening frame. Mirza Teletovic's trey and Thornton's steal and layup during the final minute of the stanza extended the advantage to 26-14 heading into the second.
Miami charged back during the middle stages of the second when Bosh finished off an 11-2 surge with a three-point play to cut the gap to 35-34 with 4:16 to go in the half.
The Nets led 44-43 at the break, but the Heat outscored them 22-18 in the third and held a 65-62 cushion going into the fourth.
The Nets are 33-13 since Jan. 1 ... Brooklyn shot 52.9 percent (36-of-68) from the floor, while Miami finished 47.8 percent (33-of-69) from the field ... There were seven lead changes in the fourth quarter.
04/08 23:18:26 ET
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