The Brooklyn Nets are emerging as a serious contender in the Eastern Conference, but will get the litmus test Wednesday when they host the defending NBA champion Miami Heat.
After a sparkling run that followed the firing of coach Avery Johnson beginning last month, Brooklyn (26-18) has come back down to earth by going 5-5 over its last 10 games. Miami (28-13) continues to hold the top spot in the Eastern Conference, but are coming off a double-overtime loss to the Boston Celtics on Sunday that snapped a four-game winning streak.
These two teams faced off Dec. 1—prior to the Johnson firing and the beginning of the P.J. Carlesimo tenure—with the Heat coming away an easy 102-89 victor in Brooklyn.
As NBA picks, both of these teams have been mediocre this season. Miami brings in a record of 20-21 against the spread, while the Nets have gone 21-21-3 against the number.