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Hornets Going for Back-to-Back, Season Sweep of Visiting Heat

by Sam Perley

  • Charlotte Hornets (31-32) vs. Miami Heat (33-30)
  • Sunday, May 2, 2021 at 8 PM EST (Spectrum Center)
  • Bally Sports and WFNZ 610 AM or 102.5 FM
  • Last time out: Hornets won, 110-105 on March 26, 2021 in Charlotte

LaMelo Ball, Malik Monk Both Return in Saturday’s Win Over Detroit

Charlotte opened up its all-home back-to-back in winning fashion on Saturday night, weathering a couple second-half runs by Detroit to hold on for a 107-94 victory. Terry Rozier (29) and Miles Bridges (27) both had 20-point showings, but all eyes were on the backcourt with LaMelo Ball and Malik Monk each returning to the rotation following lengthy injury absences. Ball racked up 11 points, seven rebounds and a game-high eight assists, while Monk had 11 points on 4-of-8 shooting off the bench. Getting the pair and rotation reacclimated might take a few games, but these performances were hopefully a good sign of things to come.

Force Miami to Play Quicker, Then Generate Takeaways in Tonight’s Matchup

The Heat posted a 9-6 record in the month of April, ranking last in the NBA in pace during this time frame (95.57 possessions per 48 minutes). Charlotte was just a few spots ahead of Miami (T-27th with Dallas at 96.47), although has a couple of aforementioned tempo-setters back in the mix with Ball and Monk returning to the lineup. Disrupting a methodical Heat squad that on the year, ranks first in the NBA in fast-break points allowed (10.3) will be huge, as the Hornets look to get their recent returnees back in the fold as quickly as possible. 

Hornets Hoping to Continue 3-PT Success Against Heat 

Two of Charlotte’s 10 highest single-game totals for three-pointers this campaign have come against the Heat, with the team knocking down a season-high-tying 21 in South Beach on Feb. 1 and 18 back home on March 26. Miami, which allowed the Hornets to shoot 46% from distance across the previous two matchups, entered last night’s game in Cleveland ranked 27th in three-pointers allowed (14.3), although just 10th in percentage (36.1%). Safe to say, Charlotte’s ability to hit shots early and often from behind the arc could go a long way to notching the season series sweep.

Preview Quote

“[LaMelo’s] given us great pace all year. He’s one of the reasons we were a top-3, top-4 pace team all season. It’s good to have him back. We got some easy ones with him in transition. I expect it to only get better from here, but it was a breath of fresh air to have that jolt back in the gym for us. All our guys have been playing with great pace, but LaMelo takes us to another level in that regard.” – Coach Borrego following Saturday’s win over Detroit

Final Thoughts 

Last night’s game against Detroit wasn’t the prettiest of outings for the Hornets, but at this point of the season, it’s mainly about picking up wins any way possible. Putting together a more consistent and physical 48-minute effort and then getting a few more shots to fall for distance could certainly put the Hornets in prime position for the weekend sweep at Spectrum Center.  

Additional Notes

G Victor Oladipo (right knee soreness) and G Tyler Herro (right foot soreness) will not play for the Heat in tonight’s game… G Devonte’ Graham (right knee contusion) was out for Charlotte on Saturday night… Charlotte is 6-7 on the second leg of back-to-backs this season, while Miami is 6-5 (played in Cleveland on Saturday night)…The Hornets are looking for their first four-game winning streak against the Heat since April 8 – Nov. 13, 2007 and first season series sweep since 2001-02 (won all three matchups this year) 

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