This is the night the Nets can make a franchise statement as big as Brooklyn.

P.J. Carlesimo made it clear to his team what it will take to beat the Heat tonight at Barclays Center. Carlesimo has been around a long time and he knows that beating LeBron James is like beating Michael Jordan. It is special. It can carry you to new heights as a franchise.

Such a win can get you to believe in yourself and your team like never before.

It doesn't just happen. You have to will your team to be better than the best. This is much more than a gut check for the Nets. Can they be elite?

The Nets wanted to be in Brooklyn and play with the NBA best — tonight they get that chance against the Heat and LeBron. The Nets have lost 12 straight to the Heat, but for the first time they are playing in Brooklyn against Miami. Time to man-up.

"When you beat LeBron's team or Michael's team,'' Carlesimo told The Post after yesterday's practice in East Rutherford, "you feel differently. You absolutely feel differently when you beat these guys.''