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The Nets hand the Heat their fourth straight loss and knock them out of first in the East

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MIAMI (AP) — Goran Dragic looked up at the overhead screen and watched the video honoring his seven seasons with the Miami Heat, then waved to loud applause from his former home crowd.

It was the beginning of a great night for the Brooklyn Nets.

And it was the only thing Heat fans could cheer about.

Kevin Durant scored 23 points, Seth Curry added 17 and the Nets overwhelmed Miami 110-95 on Saturday night, sending the Heat to their season-worst fourth straight loss.

“I thought there was a lot of strength and purpose in the offense,” Nets coach Steve Nash said. “We didn’t take things for granted.”

Andre Drummond had 13 points and 11 rebounds for Brooklyn, which got 11 points from Kyrie Irving — who will play his first home game of the season with the Nets on Sunday — and 10 from Nic Claxton.

“I think every phase of our game worked tonight,” Durant said.

Bam Adebayo scored 14 points for Miami, which trailed as many as 37 points, its biggest deficit of the season. The Heat were without coach Erik Spoelstra, who missed the game due to a family matter, and assistant Chris Quinn filled in for him.

Tyler Herro and Max Strus each had 13 and Kyle Lowry had 12 for Miami. Caleb Martin had 10 and Jimmy Butler was limited to just seven points on 2-for-9 shooting.

And the Eastern Conference race only got tighter, now with the top four teams separated by just half a game.

Philadelphia (46-27, .630) moved into first place in the East, percentage points ahead of Miami (47-28, .627). Boston and Milwaukee, who lost Saturday night at Memphis, are 46-28 (.622); the Celtics have the head-to-head tiebreaker at this point over the Bucks.

“We’re not worried in the sense of panicking,” Lowry said. “But, yes, we have to fix some things.”

Brooklyn (39-35) remained at No. 8, now a full game ahead of No. 9 Charlotte. The Nets and Hornets meet on Sunday night.

“We have that mindset where every game counts,” Drummond said.

Dragic said he found out about the tribute early Saturday. He has maintained friendships with many Heat players and employees since he was moved in the trade that brought Lowry to Miami last summer.

“It means a lot,” Dragic said. “I spent seven years, six and a half years here. It’s always nice to have the reception I had. … We have a lot of fun, but right now, my focus is on Brooklyn.”

The Heat bench rose in unison for the tribute.

“One of the best point guards to put on the jersey,” Quinn said. “Every time we see it, we love to see it. Obviously we don’t love to see him on the other team, but it’s always good to be around someone of that caliber.”

Brooklyn outscored Miami 40-21 in the second quarter to take a 21-point lead at the half. It just kept getting worse for Miami; Drummond intercepted a pass, dribbled down the court, threw a “peace” sign to Heat defenders on his way to the rim and sank for an 82-55 lead midway through the third.

“I don’t know what made me do it,” Drummond said.

The Heat led New York 90-73 with 11 minutes left on Friday, then were outscored 38-13 the rest of the way. Curry made a 3-pointer with 4:02 left in the third for a 94-57 lead, meaning going back to Friday, over a span of 43 minutes, the Heat were outscored 132-70.

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Nets hand Heat their fourth straight loss, knock them out of first in the East originally appeared on NBCSports.com

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