Can Brooklyn Nets handle the intense Miami Heat again?

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Brooklyn Nets tip-off tonight in Miami against the Heat 7pm ET looking to extend their winning streak over the two-time reigning NBA champions.

The match-up acts as the second round playoff series opener, as the two experienced sides battle it out to strike a blow first.

Although Miami are slight favorites to win the series, the Nets swept them 4-0 in the regular season.

Back to back titles for the Heat have come on the back of strong play by their 'big three', LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.

During their time together in Florida they have never been swept during the regular season by any NBA team until the Nets this campaign, which adds further spice to an already exciting series.

The Nets regular season against the Heat would suggest that they have Miami's number, and this playoff series could be a foregone conclusion.

But let's not forget that the Heat know how to play in the big games, and they will be looking for the ultimate revenge.

Analyzing the four games during the regular season can go some way to explaining why the Nets dominated the Heat so much.

Of the four games that the two sides have played this season, three of them have been decided by one point.

The other one was won by the Nets in double overtime, which means that although the Nets have swept Miami, every game has gone down to the wire.

Miami didn't manage more than 100 points in any of those games, which means the key tonight for the Heat is breaking open the Nets defense.

However, Miami are still riding a low average point per game record during the post-season of 101.8 ppg compared with 102.2 during the regular season.

And with the Nets defense improving during the post-season with 96.1 conceded compared with 99.8, the Heat could have their work cut out.

However, the Heat's defense could be key, and as we know defenses win championships.

At the moment the two-time reigning champions have the second best defense in the post-season with 92.0, and that's exactly what they will need to see them through in what is guaranteed to be a tight and physical series, with the Heat likely to progress in six or seven games.

New Jersey Nets
NBA Playoffs
Miami Heat

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