Charlotte’s 4th-Quarter Comeback Not Enough vs. Heat

Hornets Drop 4th-Straight at Home

By Sam Perley,

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Kemba Walker finished with a game-high 25 points and Dwight Howard added 15 while grabbing 16 rebounds but the Hornets fourth-quarter comeback fell short as Charlotte dropped its fourth-straight contest at Spectrum Center in a 104-98 loss to Miami.

Turning Point

The Hornets fought back from a 17-point, fourth-quarter deficit with 7:30 remaining on the back of an 8-0 run that cut the Heat lead to 100-98 with 1:31 remaining but could not close the game out in the final moments. Following a Dion Waiters fadeaway jumper from the free-throw line, Nic Batum had a chance to cut the lead to two again when he found himself in a mismatch with Miami’s Goran Dragic on the left block. Batum got the shot he wanted in the paint but was too strong on his attempt. Following a Hornets defensive stop on the other end, Jeremy Lamb had the chance to make it a two-point game again when he drove by James Johnson on the left baseline, but his reverse layup attempt rolled around the rim and did not fall and Miami closed the game at the free-throw line.

Hornets Player of the Game (Pick up your Kemba Walker gear here)

Kemba Walker scored a game-high 25 points on 8-of-22 shooting, including 4-of-10 from beyond the arc, and connected on 5-of-6 free throws. He added five assists, four rebounds and two steals. Walker tried to bring the Hornets back in the fourth, scoring 15 of Charlotte’s 27 points in the frame, with no other Hornet scoring more than three points in the quarter. Walker has now scored 20+ points in 17 our of 26 games the season. With his four treys, he has now made multiple three-pointers in 17 games this season.

Heat Player of the Game

Wayne Ellington came off the bench to finish with a team-high-tying 16 points on 5-of-10 shooting from beyond the arc and 1-of-1 shooting from the charity stripe. He added three rebounds, an assist and a steal in 25 minutes.

Game Notes

Dwight Howard finished with 15 points and a game-high 16 rebounds to record his 16th double-double of the season, good for seventh most in the NBA. Howard has had 15+ rebounds in 10 games this season, ranking him third in the league behind DeAndre Jordan (L.A. Clippers) and Andre Drummond (Detroit). This was also Howard’s eighth game this season with 15+ points and 15+ rebounds - the most in the NBA this season… Michael Kidd-Gilchrist had 13 points on 6-of-8 shooting, marking his third-straight game scoring 10+ points, tying his longest streak of such games this season… With 12 points Jeremy Lamb had his 23rd game with 10+ points so far this season after a career-high 31 in 2016-17… Nic Batum dished out a season-high-tying 10 assists (10 vs. CHI 12/08) and added five points, three rebounds and two steals… Charlotte has attempted 757 free throws through 27 games compared to just 532 free throws attempted by Charlotte’s opponents. The +225 free throws attempted margin for Charlotte ranks first in the NBA. Tonight the Hornets took 27 trips to the line compared to 17 by Miami.

Quote of the Night

“Unfortunately when you lose a game, either way by one or by 40, it’s still a loss…The way we fight to the end. We started the game pretty well again, the opening lineup did a good job, Dwight [Howard] dominated inside and Kemba (Walker) in the second half almost closed the deal and really tried to. Myself, I tried to set up every guy and try to get guys shots and to move the ball to play my game.” - Nic Batum

Next Up

The Hornets four-game homestand continues at 7 p.m. on Saturday against Portland at Spectrum Center. The game can be seen on Fox Sports Southeast or heard on WFNZ or on the official Charlotte Hornets mobile app.