As reporters rushed to surround Brooklyn Nets rookie center Mason Plumlee after the first-year player's key block on Miami superstar LeBron James sealed Brooklyn's 88-87 victory over the Heat, teammates playfully jabbed at the team's only rookie.

Among them was Deron Williams, the team's on-court leader. As Plumlee fielded questions, D-Will began to sing in his direction, belting out the chorus of Aloe Blacc's "The Man," a song that gained air-time this year for its inclusion in Beats by Dre commercials featuring athletes, including Brooklyn's Kevin Garnett.

Plumlee might not have such a commercial coming his way, but he was The Man for the Nets on Tuesday night.

The rookie's last-second swat of a dunk attempt by James finished off Brooklyn's season sweep of the two-time defending NBA champions. In the process, they became the first squad to complete a four-game regular season sweep of Miami since James joined the team.

After the hard fought victory, D-Will credited the work of Plumlee — an unsung member of the team's star-studded roster coming into the season — to fill the role vacated when center Brook Lopez was lost for the season to injury.

"When Brook went down, it sort of opened up an opportunity for him," Deron said. "He's responded. He's learning every day. He's listening to KG. KG kind of took him under his wing. He's a huge part of the team now. We need him. We're going to need him in the playoffs. He adds another dimension. He's athletic. He's young. He gives us another dimension to our bigs."

Brooklyn needed everything they could get out of every member of the roster Tuesday night, including D-Will, who had a monumental night of his own.

By recording a steal in his 27th consecutive game, No. 8 etched his place in Nets history, breaking the franchise record for consecutive games with a steal previously shared by Coach Jason Kidd and Mookie Blaylock, who had each gone 26 straight games with a takeaway.

It was clear from the opening tip that D-Will had gone to South Beach focused and ready to play, as he wasted little time setting that franchise mark, stealing a bad pass from Miami's Mario Chalmers on the very first possession of the game.

A little over a minute later, Deron grabbed his own rebound and sank a 12-foot jumper to tie the game at 2-2. It took Brooklyn a few minutes to get going, but by the halfway point of the first, they were ready to take control of the game. Over the final six minutes of the quarter, the Nets outscored the Heat 17-7.

Deron helped jump start Brooklyn in the first quarter, when he tallied five of his eight points (Getty Images).

D-Will was a big part of that late first quarter run. With 1:37 left in the first, he knocked down a trey from the left wing off a feed from Mirza Teletovic to give Brooklyn its largest lead of the night, 21-13. Moments later, No. 8 returned the favor, spotting Teletovic for a triple that made it 24-14. Marcus Thornton followed with a steal and fast break layup that made the score 26-14 in favor of the visitors through 12 minutes of action.

With a double-digit lead in hand and Brooklyn playing in the first half of its 19th back-to-back of the season, Coach Jason Kidd gave Deron a well-deserved break to start the second frame. However, when Miami cut Brooklyn's lead to seven-points midway through the quarter, the Nets' first-year coach inserted D-Will back into the game.

James, the four-time league MVP, attempted to take the game into his own hands, but Deron stabilized things for Brooklyn and the Nets held strong, taking a 44-43 lead into halftime.

Coming out of the locker room, D-Will and the Nets made it clear they were not going to let Miami finish its comeback without a fight.

Paul Pierce opened the second half scoring with a driving jumper and D-Will followed with another steal, this time on a bad pass from Toney Douglas. The takeaway allowed the Nets to get out in transition and their possession ended with another Pierce jump shot that gave Brooklyn a five-point lead.

The teams went back and forth for the rest of the game, with neither squad establishing a lead of more than four over the final 18 minutes of the contest.

James worked with fellow All-Star Chris Bosh to grab the lead for Miami midway through the third, but Deron did all he could to keep the Heat from pulling away. With 4:40 left in the frame, he assisted on a Plumlee layup to cut Miami's lead to one. Mario Chalmers responded with a trey, but No. 8 and the Nets came right back.

D-Will lived in the lane on Tuesday night, a key to his six-assist, six-rebound night (Getty Images).

Working off a pick-and-roll D-Will drove, sucking in the defense, then kicked to Teletovic who drained a long 3-pointer. On the next BKN possession, Deron crossed up Chalmers and sunk a short floater through contact to make the score 61-60 in favor of Miami.

Shortly after pulling the Nets within one, D-Will's rebound on a missed trey by LeBron resulted in a driving layup by Johnson to give Brooklyn a 62-61 lead. However, James answered with two buckets in the closing minutes of the quarter to stake the Heat to a 65-62 advantage heading into the fourth.

After playing all 12 minutes of the third quarter, D-Will was given a break to start the fourth. In his absence, the Nets reserve guards came through with several critical buckets. Alan Anderson cashed in four points, while Marcus Thornton dropped 11 on 3-of-3 shooting from downtown, including one trifecta that tied the game. Pierce then added a triple of his own to give the Nets the lead. However, Ray Allen answered with a three to tie it again and the lead went on to change hands three times in the next three possessions.

Miami appeared primed to take control when Rashard Lewis stole the ball from Pierce and finished with a finger roll on the other end that gave the home team a 78-75 lead with 5:06 to go.

Kidd immediately took a timeout and subbed D-Will, Plumlee, and Johnson back into the game. The trio would play a big role in Brooklyn's victory.

After Johnson and Bosh traded buckets, Deron made a beautiful pass to Plumlee, who finished with a driving dunk to bring the Nets to within one-point of the lead with 3:33 to go. Thornton followed with another steal and layup to put Brooklyn in front, but James answered with authority, his driving dunk putting Miami up 82-81.

Like the other three before it, the fourth game between Brooklyn and Miami went down to the wire and was the third game between the teams this season that was decided by one point (Getty Images).

D-Will, normally a chalk free-throw shooter, had an uncharacteristic moment with 2:17 to go when he missed a pair of free throws that would have put the Nets in front. But he picked himself up and grabbed the rebound from a blocked Bosh layup to get Brooklyn out in transition. On the other end, he dished to Thornton, who drained his third three of the frame to put the Nets back on top 84-82.

Johnson followed with a floater to make it a four-point game, but James got the most of Miami's next possession when he drove for a layup and drew a foul. His subsequent free throw made it 86-85 Nets.

On the ensuing Nets possession, D-Will dished another vital dime inside to Plumlee and the rookie finished with a layup that gave the Nets a three-point edge with 41.1 seconds remaining.

Bosh answered with a dunk and after Johnson misfired on a three with 10 seconds remaining, Miami got the rebound with a chance to win it.

It appeared as if James would do just that as he went up for a dunk with two seconds remaining. However Plumlee stood tall blocking the shot to secure Brooklyn's victory and a regular season sweep of the Heat.

The victory was symbolic of how far the Nets have come this season, and perhaps Plumlee is too.

"In preseason and first time he played he was like a chicken with his head cut off, running around," D-Will said. "Now he's figured things out. He's learning. At this point, it's almost like he's not a rookie, even though he is a rookie still." 

With the win, Brooklyn moved to within two games behind idle Toronto and Chicago for the third seed in the East. The Nets also two games behind the Raptors for the Atlantic Division crown with five games remaining in the regular season.


Fresh off one of their biggest wins of the season, the Nets (43-34) will look to keep building on their three-game winning streak as they finish their two-day stay in the Sunshine State with a trip to Orlando on Wednesday night to take on the Magic (22-55).

It's the first of two meetings between the two teams in the final five games (Orlando will visit the Barclays Center on Sunday). They have split the season series thus far with each team capitalizing on home court advantage.

They first met in Orlando on November 3rd when the Magic beat Brooklyn 107-86. Deron had nine points and seven assists in the contest. He tallied nine points and nine assists in their other meeting, a 101-90 Nets win in Brooklyn on January 21st.

Tip-off of the third meeting of the season between the teams is set for 7 p.m. EST and the game can be viewed locally on WWOR, My 9 or with NBA League Pass.