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Nets 96, Heat 88 (Beyond the Box Score)

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - The Heat needs to get home in a hurry.

Dwyane Wade's return to the lineup wasn't enough to get the Heat back to its winning ways of not-so-long ago. Instead, the Heat went cold down the stretch of yet another game on this trip and fell 96-88 to the Nets at the IZOD Center.

The Heat is now 0-3 on this four-game trip, and has dropped six of its last seven on the road. Miami also dipped to 1-16 this season when it scores fewer than 90 points.

The best thing about this trip is that the end is in sight. Miami closes the swing Sunday afternoon against the Pistons. The issues with this team clearly go beyond Wade's injury concerns. The rotation seems to be a problem, with the pieces not fitting as well.

A healthy Wade easily hides some of these shortcomings. But Wade is far from spry. The hip flexor remains a concern, even though he played through it after missing Wednesday's OT loss at Boston.

Player of the Game: Dwyane Wade - Even at less than 70 percent, Wade is still better the majority of the players in the league at 150 percent. His 27 points, eight rebounds and six assists proved to be a wasted effort. He was sluggish at the start and at the finish. Still, he tried. At times, that leaves others standing around watching and out of sync. That was the case in the final moments Friday, when he may have been a bit of a liability defensively - dare we say it.

Surprise, Surprise: Michael Beasley - The surprise wasn't the fact that Beasley poured in 17 points off the bench on 8-of-11 shooting from the field. The shocker was that the Heat's most efficient offense player wasn't even on the court at the finish - in crunch time - when buckets needed to be made. He also sat on the bench most of the third quarter. Count this among the issues that have to be resolved.

Tough Night: Jamario Moon - The honeymoon - those first few games after the trade - was fabulous for the Heat. In his first eight games, Moon essentially erased eight months of Shawn Marion memories. But Friday's effort was a microcosm of what things have been like for him in recently. Moon was 0-3 from the field and had one rebound in 11 minutes. He also struggled defensively against Vince Carter.

Lit 'em Up: Jarvis Hayes - Provided the daggers that buried the Heat late in the game. Hayes was the perfect complement to Vince Carter's all-around play. Hayes was 8 of 12 from the field, including 2 of 3 from three-point range. He scored nine of his 18 points in the fourth quarter.

Stat of the Night: 4 of 21 - The Heat couldn't match the Nets touch from distance. Miami missed 17 of its 21 attempts from three-point range, including an 0-of-7 offering in the fourth quarter.

That Says it All:"We have to take care of these issues because we have teams breathing down our necks." - Heat forward Udonis Haslem said of Miami losing ground in the Eastern Conference standings.

Next Up: Sunday - Heat at Detroit Pistons, 1 p.m. The Palace at Auburn Hills




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