MIAMI — This time the Nets weren’t embarrassed.
This time they were heartbroken.
After fighting back from a big hole on the road against Miami, they had a chance to tie or take the lead in the final seconds. Until they threw the ball away, with Spencer Dinwiddie’s pass to Wilson Chandler sailing out of bounds.
The Nets fell, 116-113, to the Heat at American Airlines Arena on Saturday night, a fourth straight defeat.
“When you go through adversity like this and you go through times like this, it happens in the league. We had a seven-game losing streak and it seems like the end of the world,” coach Kenny Atkinson said. “I look at the last five games, we had three games you say man, could’ve won all three of them.
“Charlotte we had a really good game, and took them out. Last night had a tough game. So I really try to have that … and that’s my job, players are more ‘now,’ let’s get it done. But I have enough trust in that group we’ll get it together. We’ll bring it back, even though we know we’ve got a tough schedule coming up.”
Granted, the defense was different. So were the effort and energy. But the end result was the same.
It was 112-108 before Dinwiddie’s layup cut the lead in half with 1:20 to play, and when Joe Harris rebounded a Jimmy Butler miss, the Nets got a great look. But Taurean Prince missed a potential go-ahead 3, and Bam Adebayo snatched the defensive board with 36 seconds remaining.
Goran Dragic’s 17-foot jumper left the Nets down by four with 13.7 seconds left.
Harris drilled a big 3-pointer off an inbounds from Dinwiddie, with just two seconds burned. And when Butler made just one of two at the line with 9.1 left, the Nets had a golden opportunity. But they tossed it away when Dinwiddie’s pass sailed over Chandler’s head.
Harris had been trying to come off a curl, but Adebayo appeared to grab the sharpshooter him and blow the play up. It worked, and the Dragic iced the game at the line with 0.4 seconds left.
The Nets let the Heat shoot 45.1 percent overall, and 14-of-38 from deep. Dragic had 19 points off the bench.
Dinwiddie had a game-high 25 points, while Joe Harris added 20.
Kendrick Nunn had 21 for Miami.
The Nets close their four-game road trip Tuesday at Boston — which, like Miami, is among the top teams in the Eastern Conference.
“I do look at the big picture. We’ve been really good defensively all year. Obviously [Friday] night we weren’t. We’ve got to bounce back and have a better performance,” Atkinson said before the game. “I didn’t feel like that tactics were . We didn’t win the battles. So especially against this team, we better compete and win the battles.”
The Nets won a host of skirmishes, but not enough to take the war.