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Heat start fast and finish off season sweep of Nets

Less than a half-hour before the Miami Heat left their locker room for warmups, they had no idea if Chris Andersen would be able to play. He wound up starting and starring. Dwyane Wade scored 28 points and added nine assists, Andersen — taking suspended center Hassan Whiteside’s spot in the lineup — tied a career high with 18 points and set a season high with 14 rebounds, and the Heat completed a season sweep of the Brooklyn Nets with a 104-98 victory Wednesday night.635617126865907532-USP-NBA-BROOKLYN-NETS-AT-MIAMI-HEAT-71524662

“When I know I’ve got to step up, I’ll step up,” said Andersen, who’s dealing with a number of injuries, most recently a leg contusion. “And I’ll try to get the job done.” He did more than try. Andersen made 8 of 9 shots, helped stake the Heat to a big early lead and helped them hang on in the final moments. “He gives you everything he has,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “That’s what it’s about right now in that locker room. Guys are fighting for each other. They’re playing with pain for each other … not for themselves, but for the next guy. You love to see that.”

Goran Dragic added 17 points in his return to the Heat lineup. Miami went 7-0 against New York’s teams this season — 4-0 against the Nets, 3-0 against the Knicks — and moved back into the No. 8 spot in the Eastern Conference playoff race, helped by Sacramento beating Charlotte earlier Wednesday night. Deron Williams and Jarrett Jack each scored 18 points for the Nets. Brook Lopez finished with 15 points and 13 rebounds, Thaddeus Young had 15 points and Joe Johnson 12 for Brooklyn, which lost its fifth straight and saw its playoff chances further dwindle.

The Nets were within six midway through the third, but Miami ended the quarter on a 13-4 run to take an 82-67 lead. Jack scored 16 points in the fourth for Brooklyn, but the Nets never got closer than five in the final moments. Andersen had the first 10-point first quarter of his NBA career and Miami led by 18 in the first half before settling on a 62-51 lead at the break. Andersen had 14 points — already a season high — by halftime, and some of the other banged-up Miami players came up big as well. Wade had 13 by halftime despite missing the shootaround earlier in the day because of headaches. Dragic returned to the lineup after a two-game absence because of a lower back contusion and had 12 points at intermission.