Hornets.com postgame: Heat 96, Hornets 84

Monday, December 13, 2010
By: Jim Eichenhofer, Hornets.com

Heat (18-8), Hornets (14-10)

It was over when… Miami opened the fourth quarter with a 12-2 run, building a 94-77 lead on a Dwyane Wade jumper with six-plus minutes remaining. The Heat had also tallied the final six points of the third quarter, for a combined 18-2 burst. It was a tightly-contested game for the bulk of the first three quarters, with New Orleans up 54-53 at halftime. The Hornets lost a third straight game for the first time in 2010-11.

Hornets MVP: David West authored his third-best scoring game of the season, finishing with 26 points, although all of his production came during the first three quarters. West often overpowered the undersized Miami frontcourt, making 13 trips to the foul line and grabbing 12 rebounds (6 offensive boards).

Hornets Sixth Man of the Game: Jarrett Jack continues to make incremental improvements and look a bit more comfortable, three weeks into his Hornets tenure. Jack had six points on 2-for-3 shooting. He also caused a minor tiff from Dwyane Wade by chasing Wade down from behind on a fast break and fouling the All-Star shooting guard.

The buzz on… the Hornets’ drop-off in perimeter shooting. During the team’s 0-2 road trip to Philadelphia and Miami, the Hornets had their worst two-game shooting stretch of the season. New Orleans set several franchise-lows offensively Sunday, then went 1-for-13 from three-point range Monday. What can the team do to avoid a repeat of performances like this in the near future? Unfortunately, shooting performance can often be a mystifying aspect of basketball that’s difficult to control.

Other than trying to penetrate into the paint more frequently, there aren’t many tangible things a team can do to fix the problem of erratic shooting. It’s comparable to a hitting slump in baseball – it’s not like trying harder will correct it.

Give credit to the Philadelphia and Miami defenses, as well as some of the other recent opponents, but it’s been a perplexing situation lately for New Orleans, which is an above average shooting team. The Hornets entered Monday’s games ranked 11th out of 30 teams in three-point percentage.

Blog question of the night: It’s very rare that you’ll hear anyone mention a “moral victory” in the NBA, but the Hornets looked much better in the first 2 1/2 quarters at Miami than they had in recent games. Were you encouraged by Monday’s performance in defeat? Discouraged? Or a combination of both?