Rookie Plumlee Blocks King James

By Lenn Robbins | @lennrobbins
BROOKLYNNETS.COM

MIAMI - Mason Plumlee is trending.

He’s trending on Twitter, Facebook, every ESPN channel known to cable TV and every sports radio talk show in America.

Plumlee stuffed LeBron James Tuesday night when King James, as it said on the back of his nickname jersey, was going in for a slam dunk that would have given the Heat their first win over the Nets in four tries.

Plumlee didn’t get the memo that a rookie isn’t supposed to challenge the greatest player on the planet.

But as James, 6-8, 250 pounds, went up, Plumlee, 6-11, 235 pounds went with him, snuffing the shot at the rim.

“There will be times I get dunked on," said Plumlee, “but they’re going to have to go through me or over me.”

King did neither.

The Nets won 88-87 to sweep the Heat. They are the first team to go 4-0 against the Heat since the Big 3 – James, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade – united in Miami.

And Plumlee went from being an obscure NBA rookie to the player that made one of the most spectacular plays of the season.

It was his Heisman moment, if you will.

“That’s just a heck of a play,’’ said coach Jason Kidd, whose team improved to 43-34.

Do not fear Nets fans, Plumlee did not wake up Wednesday morning demanding to be called, "Mr. Plumlee," or "Sir Plum."

As he was talking to a gaggle of reporters in the visitor’s locker room in AmericanAirlines Arena, the Nets' veterans, led by Paul Pierce, reminded the rookie he was still low man on the totem pole.

"That's all part of it," Pierce said. "Even though he had a huge game, national TV, big bucket, big block, he's still got to come in here and carry the bags and get the towels."

“My bad," Plumlee said sheepishly.

There is nothing sheepish about Plumlee’s game.

He powered in a layup with 41 seconds left to give the Nets an 88-85 lead. Bosh cut it to 88-87 with two free throws. When Joe Johnson missed a 3 he had to put up to beat the shot clock, the ball was in King James’ hands and the Nets were on their heels.

James passed it to Rashard Lewis, who got it back to the King on the low block. James, whose salary is $19 million, went for the rim. Plumlee, whose salary is $1.3 million, met him there.

Somewhere, Dikembe Mutombo was waving a finger, saying, "Not in My House."

Plumlee finished with 8 points, eight rebounds, two assists, one steal and three blocked shots, the last of which is probably being replayed right this second.

“It’s winning time,” Plumlee said. “It doesn’t matter if it’s Dwight [Howard], LeBron, whoever … you just have to meet them at the rim."

James, who went to the foul line (11-of-14) as much as the entire Nets team (7-of-14), complained that he had been fouled.

“I saw it twice,” he said. “I didn’t need to watch it. He grabbed my right hand … he didn’t do it on purpose, but he got my right hand and the ball went off the rim and went back.

“If he got all ball, the ball would’ve gone straight down. But what are you going to do about it?”

Plumlee disagreed.

"No," he said. "I didn't foul him."

“You have the best player in the world going against a rookie," said Kidd. “We got lucky."

No. The Nets, who play the Magic in Orlando Wednesday night, got Plumlee.

Nets Central

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