NEW YORK (AP) — Tyler Johnson scored a season-high 24 points, Goran Dragic had 21 and the Miami Heat beat the short-handed Brooklyn Nets 120-107 on Wednesday night to snap a three-game losing streak.
Josh Richardson added 15 points and Hassan Whiteside had 14 points and 10 rebounds for the Heat. They never trailed and led by as much as 23, rediscovering their defense after some poor outings during their skid.
Spencer Dinwiddie scored 18 points for the Nets in their first game since losing leading scorer Caris LeVert to a dislocated right foot. He could return this season from what appeared to be a severe injury when he was hurt Monday, but it could be a rough road without him for the Nets if Wednesday’s game was any indication.
Brooklyn also was without starting center Jarrett Allen again because of an illness.
Miami had yielded 116.7 points in its last three games but coach Erik Spoelstra said before the game the Heat weren’t as far away defensively as they looked during the skid, noting they had the NBA’s sixth-ranked defense after beating San Antonio before it started.
The Heat were quickly locked in again, limiting the Nets to 6-for-24 shooting in the first quarter. Miami made 62.5 percent of its shots on the other end and led 37-21.
Johnson shot 9 for 12 against the team that signed him to a $50 million offer sheet two summers ago, but the Heat held onto the guard by matching the deal.
Brooklyn couldn’t make much a dent over the middle two periods and Miami led 90-72 lead after three. The Nets did finally cobble together enough offense to briefly get within single digits in the fourth.
Heat: Longtime Heat forward Udonis Haslem got into a game for just the second time this season, entering late in the third quarter. … Josh Richardson played in his 200th career game.
Nets: Allen Crabbe, a starter last season who has struggled offensively coming off the bench thus far, was in the lineup in LeVert’s spot but fouled out with just six points. … Brooklyn had won the last three meetings and its only loss to Miami last season came in Mexico City.
Nets coach Kenny Atkinson and general manager Sean Marks both talked about the range of emotions that started with seeing LeVert going down Monday in Minnesota with his leg bent awkwardly and taken off to a stretcher, to getting the positive diagnosis of no fractures, no surgery necessary and a potential return this season the following day. Marks wouldn’t put a timetable on a possible return, but the Nets were happy there was even hope of one so soon.
“I’m obviously definitely no doctor, but I think from the optics standpoint, when you see something like that, that’s pretty gruesome, you’re fearing the worst unfortunately,” Marks said. “And then you when you get the results, look, he’s going to bounce back and that’s terrific.”
SEE YOU SOON
The teams meet again next Tuesday night in Miami, where the Nets were 2-0 last season.
Heat: Visit Indiana on Friday night.
Nets: Visit Washington on Friday night.
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