If you can’t beat them, don’t join them

for The Brooklyn Paper
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The Nets once again got shellacked by the Heat, then managed to squeeze their way past the depleted, but resilient Bulls team last week.

Don’t think for a minute, however, that the strategies that helped Brooklyn beat Chicago will ever work against the talents from South Beach.

Against the Bulls, the Nets often ran with a smaller lineup, using Gerald Wallace at the four-spot — a tactic the team did not employ facing the Heat.

Small ball worked well against the Bulls, but that was more the result of the Chicago’s decimated front court taking the floor without Joakim Noah and Carlos Boozer.

The Heat use speed and athleticism to quickly close out on shooters, and it will be difficult if not impossible for the Nets to beat Lebron James and Dwayne Wade at their own game.

But Miami has one obvious shortcoming: rebounding. The Nets themselves are only a mediocre team when it comes to rebounding, however Brooklyn has a significant advantage over Miami on the glass thanks to an improving Brook Lopez, who has stepped up rebounding game, and the hard work of Reggie Evans and Kris Humphries.

The Nets have come up short by a wide margin in all three contests against the Heat this season, but this is one instance where if you can’t beat them, you certainly shouldn’t join them.

To knock off the Heat, the Nets must work the ball inside out through Lopez and attack the offensive glass.

Brooklyn can’t let Miami dictate how to play the game.

Tom Lafe is a 6-foot-5 sports-world insider with a middling high school basketball career who believes the Nets will be driven by the success of the team’s big men.

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