The mighty Miami Heat sit atop the Eastern Conference but the Brooklyn Nets have their number.
Joe Johnson scored 19 points, and Mason Plumlee blocked LeBron James’ potential game-winning dunk just before the final buzzer as the visiting Nets beat the Heat, 88-87 to complete a four-game regular-season series sweep on Tuesday night.
It was the Nets’ third win by a single point over the two-time defending NBA Champions with the other a double overtime victory.
“That’s just a heck of a play,” Nets coach Jason Kidd said of Plumlee’s game-saving rejection. “You have the best player in the world going against a rookie and we got lucky.”
The Nets were clinging to a one-point lead when James drove the middle for thunderous throw-down, but Plumlee met him at the rim and swatted it away.
Replays showed Plumlee fouled James on the right wrist but no call was made as the reigning league Most Valuable Player argued in vain with the officials.
“It was a foul, he didn’t mean to do it on purpose but he grabbed my right hand,” said James, who finished with 29 points and 10 rebounds.
“I should have been going to the line for two free throws but what are you going to do about it?” Plumlee said: “My initial thought was just foul him and make him earn it at the free throw line. But I just got a piece of the ball.”
Marcus Thornton scored 11 of his 16 points in the final frame, while Paul Pierce added 14 for the Nets, whose sixth win in the last seven games moved them within two of idle Toronto and Chicago for the third playoff seed in the East.
Chris Bosh netted 12 points and Norris Cole had 10 off the bench for Miami, who had their lead trimmed to a half game over idle Indiana for the East top playoff seed.
In other games Minnesota Timberwolves downed San Antonio Spurs 110-91; Dallas Mavericks eased to a 95-83 win over Utah Jazz 83; Oklahoma City Thunder were too strong for Sacramento Kings 107-92; Houston Rockets beat the LA Lakers 145-130 and Detroit Pistons edged Atlanta Hawks 102-95.