MIAMI – A debated block at the buzzer. A season sweep of the NBA champions.
Hello, Brooklyn — the only NBA team this season to go unbeaten against the Miami Heat.
Mason Plumlee denied LeBron James’ dunk attempt at the rim with 2 seconds left, and the Nets finished off a four-game sweep of Miami by beating the Heat 88-87 on Tuesday night.
With Miami down by one and time running out, Rashard Lewis somehow got a pass from underneath the basket to James, who rose as Plumlee jumped to contest the play. Replays showed Joe Johnson made some contact with James as he started his move and that Plumlee hit the four-time MVP’s hand on the dunk try, but the Heat never got the call they wanted.
“My initial thought was to just foul and make him earn it at the free-throw line,” Plumlee said.
That’s precisely what the Heat thought he did.
“He grabbed my right hand,” James said. “He didn’t do it on purpose, but he got my right hand.”
Said Heat coach Erik Spoelstra: “It was a foul from my vantage point. But what can you do?”
Time expired, and just like that, Miami’s lead in the Eastern Conference was down to a half-game — one in the loss column — over Indiana.
Johnson scored 19 points, reserve Marcus Thornton had 16 and Paul Pierce scored 14 for the Nets. Plumlee had two of his three blocks in the last 2 minutes, the first of them on a short try by Chris Bosh that Miami felt should have been whistled for goaltending.
Still, his late work couldn’t get Plumlee a one-night respite from rookie duty.
“He still got to come in here and carry the bags and get the towels,” Pierce said.
Thunder 107, Kings 92
In Sacramento, Caron Butler made all six of his 3-point attempts to finish with 23 points, and Oklahoma City started the fourth quarter on a 16-0 run to pull away for the victory.
Kevin Durant scored 23 points but was never needed in the final quarter, stopping his streak of scoring at least 25 points in 41 consecutive games.
Timberwolves 110, Spurs 91
In Minneapolis, Ricky Rubio scored 23 points and Gorgui Dieng had 12 points and 15 rebounds.
Mavericks 95, Jazz 83
In Salt Lake City, Dirk Nowitzki scored 21 points on 9-of-11 shooting, and the Mavericks earned their fifth consecutive victory.
Pistons 102, Hawks 95
In Atlanta, Rodney Stuckey scored 29 points, and Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond each had a double-double.
Rockets 145, Lakers 130
In Los Angeles, Terrence Jones and James Harden scored 33 points apiece, and the Rockets kept up their playoff push with their third straight victory.