Heat Take Control in 2nd Half, Hornets Close Back-to-Back With Loss
Washington Scores 21, Charlotte Overmatched by Miami’s Paint Presence, Physicality
A dominant third-quarter showing by the visiting Miami Heat ended the Charlotte Hornets’ chances of a back-to-back sweep, leading instead to a 121-111 home loss on Sunday night at Spectrum Center.
PJ Washington paced the hosts with 21 points on 9-of-13 shooting, six rebounds and three steals in the loss. The second-year Kentucky product has now scored 20 points in five of his last nine outings after doing so just once in his previous 17 appearances since the All-Star Break.
Miami led by seven at the break and after a quick 5-0 Charlotte run to open the third, the visitors then responded with a 14-5 stretch to go up by double digits at the 7:37 mark. Defensive mistakes and foul trouble by the Hornets caused the Heat’s advantage to eventually balloon to 20 heading into the fourth. Charlotte never threatened the outcome again, coming up short in pulling off its first season series sweep of Miami since 2001-02.
“You have to give Miami credit. They made shots, they made plays at the rim,” said Coach Borrego following the loss. “We had our looks, too. The shots that we had, we didn’t knock down. The free throws, we had trouble there, as well. They were able to get to the rim. They were physical down there.”
Miles Bridges (15 points), Terry Rozier (14), LaMelo Ball (14), Jalen McDaniels (12) and Malik Monk (11) also scored in double figures for Charlotte, with Ball adding six rebounds, five assists, four steals and a block. Devonte’ Graham chipped in nine points and five assists after missing Saturday’s game, while starter Cody Martin exited in the third quarter (left ankle sprain).
Bam Adebayo notched his 31st double-double of the campaign, leading Miami with 20 points, seven rebounds and a game-high 10 assists in the win. Kendrick Nunn (19 points), reserve Goran Dragić (18), Jimmy Butler (18), Dewayne Dedmon (14) and Duncan Robinson (10) scored in double figures as well for the Heat, which swept its all-road back-to-back set.
Miami finished the contest shooting 51% from the field – 34-of-50 on two-point attempts (68%), 32-of-45 in the paint (64 points on 71% shooting) and then just of 11-of-38 from long distance (29%). Charlotte also committed 15 turnovers leading to 23 Heat points and got outscored by 13 in the fast-break department (22-9).
Borrego added, “A number of their stuff was in the paint. I thought our success against them a lot this season was the paint game. We had done a much better job of protecting the paint. We got exposed there tonight. They were big, they were physical and obviously, they’re a good team. They found their rhythm there in the second half.”
The Hornets will now hit the road to face the Detroit Pistons for the second time in three appearances on Tuesday, May 4 beginning at 7 PM EST at Little Caesars Arena. Catch all the action on Bally Sports and WFNZ 610 AM or 102.5 FM.