Miami Heat vs. Charlotte Hornets
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The tale of the tape could not get any closer for this No. 3 vs. No. 6 seed matchup. The Miami Heat and the Charlotte Hornets enter this series each taking two wins from the other during the regular season. To further fuel this competition, four players will be suiting up against their former teams. If nothing else, we can expect the games in this series to be close and low scoring (Charlotte averaged 77.5 points per game in the four meetings while Miami averaged 76.25), and both teams shot 38 percent from the floor for the regular-season matchups.
With an assist from IBM's data-mining program Advanced Scout, let's take a closer look at the regular season matchups between these two teams:
April 6, at Miami: Heat won 81-76
Dec. 20, at Charlotte: Hornets won 65-56
Nov. 14, at Miami: Heat won 89-86
Nov. 3, at Charlotte: Hornets won 83-79
Former Heat standouts, Jamal Mashburn
and P.J. Brown
have gotten the best of their old team throughout this regular-season series.
The Hornets were buzzing when Mashburn played small forward -- shooting 41 percent as a team (102-of-249), outscoring the Heat 274-247 (+27), and holding them to a 36 percent shooting (87-of-240).
The Hornets also had similar success playing Brown at power forward. The Hornets shot 44 percent (84-of-192), held a 211-191 (+20) scoring advantage over the Heat, and limited them to 34 percent shooting (65-of-189) from the field.
When the two forwards were on the court together Charlotte was just as effective. With Brown at power forward and Mashburn at small forward, the Hornets were able to outscore the Heat 200-172 (+28). This combination allowed Charlotte to make percent (80-of-174) of its shots, while holding the Heat to 34 percent (58 of 173) from the field.
Mason -- More Powerful at Power Forward
In the regular season, the Heat have gotten torched by the Charlotte Hornets when Anthony Mason
played the small forward position. The six-foot eight-inch forward shot just 31 percent (8-of-28) from the floor when playing the small forward position. Miami has also been outscored by the Hornets 104-137 (-33), and allowed them to shoot 47 percent (49-of-105) from the field. Lined up against one of the players that he was traded for in Mashburn, Mason made only 29 percent (7-of-24) of his shots, and the Heat were outscored by 31 points (94-125).
By contrast, when Mason played at power forward position instead of small forward, he shot an impressive 52 percent (12-of-23) from the floor and the Heat held the Hornets to 35 percent field goal shooting (42-of-119) over the four regular-season matchups. The Heat also put up 14 more points than Charlotte when Mason played the bigger, power forward position (125-111), resulting in a 47-point swing when compared against Mason playing the small forward position.
Eddie Jones -- not quite 100 percent?
is coming off an injury that left him sidelined for a large portion of this NBA season. Even if Jones is back at 100 percent for this series, the numbers show the Heat being less than 100 percent effective with Jones on the court against the Hornets.
When Jones was in the game at shooting guard, Charlotte outscored the Heat 172-154 (+18), and Jones found himself shooting 38 percent (15-of-39). When Jones lined up at shooting guard against Charlotte's smaller shooting guard, David Wesley
, the Heat were also outscored -- this time by 24 points (108-132) and allowed the Hornets to shoot 47 percent (51-of-108) from the floor.