Hornets Hosting Heat with Season-Series Clincher on the Line
By Sam Perley
Snapping a four-game home losing streak while claiming a crucial season-series tiebreaker would be an ideal scenario for the Charlotte Hornets if they can find a way to knock off the Miami Heat tonight starting at 7 p.m. ET.
Charlotte currently leads the season series, 2-0, and can wrap things up with a victory in one of the final two meetings. In their most recent showdown, the Hornets won at home, 125-113, on Oct. 30 thanks to 20-point showings from Tony Parker, Nic Batum and Malik Monk. Miami has lost 10 of its last 15 outings and owns the NBA’s eighth-lowest offensive rating during this stretch (108.3).
With marks of 10.7 PPG, 6.2 RPG, 1.5 APG and 1.2 BPG, Marvin Williams has been his usual, steady reliable self in six games since the All-Star Break. The long-time veteran who just recently played his 1,000th career game ranks third amongst NBA power forwards in three-pointers (119) and has also had a long-distance make in a career-best 29 straight games as well.
Williams will have his sights set on guarding seven-footer Kelly Olynyk, a sixth-year veteran from Gonzaga. The Canadian-born Olynyk has been soaring in his seven post-All-Star Break appearances, posting averages of 17.9 PPG, 5.9 RPG and 2.6 APG, while shooting 57.3 percent from the field and 50.0 percent from distance (15-of-30).
Through Monday night, Charlotte, Miami and Orlando are in a three-way tie for the Eastern Conference’s eighth spot, although the Hornets can do no worse than a split in the season series with both teams (Orlando is at Philadelphia on Tuesday night). Getting back on track with a big win tonight would be a crucial step for the Hornets as they continue their march to the postseason with just 19 games to go.
Game Note – These teams will square off for the final time this season on Sunday, March 17 in Miami… The Hornets have not won 3+ games against the Heat in a single campaign since 2009-10… PG Goran Dragić is questionable to play for Miami (strained left calf)… Charlotte’s franchise record for most consecutive games with at least one 3PM is 46 (Baron Davis; April 15, 2001 – Jan. 26, 2002)
Classic Fact – Charlotte acquired Jamal Mashburn, P.J. Brown, Otis Thorpe, Tim James and Rodney Buford from the Miami Heat in exchange for Eddie Jones, Anthony Mason, Ricky Davis and Dale Ellis back on Aug. 1, 2000. This nine-player deal is the largest in franchise history and at the time, was also the largest in Heat history as well.