by user DRE-LO

In last year's meeting between these two teams, the prediction was pretty much decided. The Heat were simply too good and had too much chemistry for a Nets team that had just acquired Vince Carter from Toronto and Richard Jefferson from the injured list. Thus, they were overmatched.

This year, they'll be more than a match. The Nets were 3-1 against the Heat in the regular season and have proven to be a complete nuisance to the Heat.

Vince Carter and Richard Jefferson will pose problems. Jefferson was not 100% in last year's series. He scored 30 points on only 13 field-goal attempts in the series clincher vs the Pacers. Another big problem for the Heat is Nenad Kristc who had a huge series verus the Heat last year. If Shaq finds himself in foul trouble, the Nets will make the Heat pay dearly with Kristc in the low post. The Heat seem to be the equivalent of a beast that had just woken up. They dominated the Bulls in the clincher. They have to put up that same intensity against the Nets for 48 minutes. It is imperative for Lawrence Frank to let Richard Jefferson take more jumpers if VC starts to struggle and take ill-advised shots. RJ has earned the right to do so.

The Bottom Line is that the Heat are not nearly as dominant as they were last year. {Not after they got rid of Dooling, Butler, Eddie Jones, Damon Jones and Stan Van Gundy} They have struggled to beat the elite during the regular season and then needed to be outplayed by Hinrich, Gordon and Nocioni for 3 games in order to realize they're in the 2nd season. Fortunately, they seem much more focused now. If the Heat get complacent again, they may not like the result. The Nets big 3, {KIDD, JEFFERSON, AND CARTER} have been able to co-exist and make the Nets a dangerous team. The difference in this Nets team as opposed to the Eastern Conference championahip teams of years past is that they have a better half-court offense. Carter, Jefferson, and Kristc take the shots while Jason Kidd can purely focus on his PG position and not have to put up shots. Can they Limit the effectiveness of a reenergized Shaq? Maybe they'l let Wade and Shaq have their way and shut down the supporting cast of the Heat.

In any event, this series will be a hell of a lot more interesting than last year's snooze.



Thu 05/04/06, 8:11 pm EST

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