What do you say after 24-point home loss to the Nets? Heat describe their play in loss as ‘perplexing’ and ‘unexplainable’

Miami Heat’s Hassan Whiteside, left, and Goran Dragic watch during the second half of the team’s NBA basketball game against the Brooklyn Nets, Friday, Dec. 29, 2017, in Miami. The Nets won 111-87. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

MIAMI — It’s hard to explain some of the Heat’s bad performances this season.

The 25-point home loss to the Pacers. The 29-point loss to the Knicks. The six-point loss to the struggling Hawks. But Friday’s 24-point home loss to the Nets was especially disappointing.

The Heat (18-17) looked like they had finally found some consistency, entering Friday with a 7-3 record over their last 10 games. Add in the fact that Brooklyn had lost seven of its past eight before Friday, and Miami’s flat performance is maddening.

Miami trailed Brooklyn by as much as 38, its largest deficit of the season. The Heat had their worst shooting night of the season from the field (33.7 percent) and on 3-pointers (11.5 percent).

How did the Heat explain this performance? They couldn’t.

Coach Erik Spoelstra: “One game doesn’t necessarily carry over to the next game. We have a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde quality to us. It’s extremely perplexing. Sometimes we compete at an extremely high level, where you can see it and you can feel it. Then we have these games that are unexplainable.”

Forward Josh Richardson: “I wish I had a direct answer. But I don’t really know. I think we had a good opportunity today and I don’t think we took advantage of it. … I don’t know if it’s home or I don’t know how much we had in the game. But I don’t know. We got to figure it out.”

Guard Tyler Johnson: “I don’t know. I think if we knew why, we probably wouldn’t be in that situation again. It was just a poor effort on all of our part. I guess the good thing is that we play tomorrow and we can still get back to two games above .500.”

Was effort a problem for the Heat? At times it was.

Spoelstra on angrily calling a timeout in the first quarter when Quincy Acy was left all alone for a 3-pointer: “That possession was a microcosm of the entire game. The lack of urgency to get back, to scramble, to make a multiple effort. That actually felt like, ‘Hey, there’s an open guy and let him shoot’ in a semi-transition situation. It wasn’t even breakneck speed. It was a very delayed break that led to a wide open shot that we didn’t make an effort to get to. Those plays just piled up from there.”

Johnson when asked if effort was an issue against the Nets: “It’s hard to say that. But yeah, it is. It seems like they just outplayed us and they just wanted the game more than we did. Like you said, it’s rare to say that about a group like this. But they really just wanted the game more.”

Goran Dragic: “We need to bring our hearts and try to compete. I think that was the main issue. They were just one step ahead of us, they were faster.”

The good thing for the Heat is they are right back at it Saturday against the Magic on the second night of a back-to-back set.

Spoelstra:” I wish we could get out there right now. I think the guys in the locker room feel that way. Nothing is guaranteed, nothing is easy in this league. So our approach tomorrow has to feel different, has to be different starting with a film session and team meeting to prepare. A normal prep that has to have a different level of urgency than what we had today. … Hopefully with a different effort and different result.”

Richardson: “We already got together and you got to have a short memory in the NBA. You dwell on one game too long, you’re going to come out and get bombed three times in a row before you look up. So we brought it in, we knew it was a tough game and we knew we had to be better. We have to stack it up and bring it back in tomorrow.”

[What to know about tonight’s matchup: Heat look to bounce back vs. Magic after bad home loss to Nets]

[Heat rookie Derrick Walton Jr. is running out of NBA days on his two-way contract]

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