Hornets Stunned in Loss to Miami

Charlotte’s 5-Point Lead Erased in Final 34 Seconds

By Matt Rochinski, hornets.com

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Anything is possible in an NBA game until the final horn blows, and on Saturday in Charlotte, the Hornets and 18,687 at Spectrum Center bore witness to this as Charlotte’s five-point lead with 37.2 seconds was erased and Miami came away with a 106-105 victory. Nic Batum tied for the game-high in scoring with 26 points and Kemba Walker added 22 more but it wasn’t enough for the Hornets to pull out a victory in the second game of their five-game homestand.

Turning Point

With 40 seconds remaining and the Hornets up 105-100 with possession of the ball, it appeared the home team was on its way to another victory in their season-long five game homestand. But then things began to unravel at Spectrum Center. First, Nic Batum tried to hit Marvin Williams cutting the baseline under the basket but Williams was able to get to it, giving the ball back to Miami with 37.2 seconds remaining. Just 3.2 seconds later, Kelly Olynyk found James Johnson inside for a dunk that cut Charlotte’s lead to 105-102 with 34.0 ticks on the clock. Batum then caught the inbounds pass on the right side where Josh Richardson instantly grabbed the ball away from Batum and fed it back to Johnson for a three-pointer to tie it 105-105 with 30.3 remaining. The Hornets still had a chance to pull out the win when Kemba Walker drove the left side and pulled up for a fadeaway seven-footer but was off the mark. Olynyk was able to grab the rebound and get down the court where Dwight Howard was whistled for a loose-ball foul with 0.2 seconds remaining. Olynyk stepped to the line and hit 1-of-2 free throws to give the Heat the 106-105 win, leaving the Hornets and Spectrum Center crowd stunned.

Hornets Player of the Game (Pick up your Nic Batum gear here)

Nic Batum recorded a season-high 26 points (previous: 23 vs. POR, 12/16) on 8-of-12 shooting from the field and a season-high nine made free throws on a season-high 10 attempts (previous FTM: 5, done multiple times, previous FTA: 8 vs. ORL, 12/04). Batum also dished out six assists, bringing his career total to 2446, including 1000 while in Charlotte. He is just the 14th player in franchise history to reach 1,000 assists. Batum was crucial in the Hornets second-half comeback, scoring 14 of Charlotte’s 16 points in a 16-6 run that gave the Hornets a 69-67 lead.

Heat Player of the Game

Kelly Olynyk scored just two points heading into the fourth quarter but totaled 14 points on 5-of-10 shooting from the field, including 3-of-5 from long range, and grabbed seven rebounds in the final stanza. He finished with 16 points and 10 rebounds for the double-double.

Game Notes

Kemba Walker recorded 22 points, three rebounds, seven assists and three steals. This his 40th 20+ point game of the season and his franchise-best 211th in his career… With 14 points and 15 rebounds, Dwight Howard recorded his 26th double-double of the season and the 692nd of his career. His 26 this season are good for third most in the NBA. This is Howard’s fourth game consecutive game recording a double-double, his second longest such streak this season (6, 11/18-11/29)… Jeremy Lamb scored nine points off the bench and brought down a season-high 10 rebounds (previous: 9 at SAS, 11/03)… With 12 points, Frank Kaminksy now has 76 career games with 10-or-more points off the bench, passing Kenny Gattison for the fifth-highest total in franchise history… The Hornets took 21 trips to the free-throw line compared to just 12 by Miami. Charlotte has attempted 1182 free throws through 43 games compared to just 838 free throws attempted by Charlotte’s opponents. The +344 free throws attempted margin for Charlotte ranks first in the NBA… Charlotte turned the ball over just eight times compared to 14 Miami turnovers.

Quote of the Night

“We played a poor defensive first half. I thought we played a great third quarter. We absolutely butchered the fourth quarter, starting with the first two possessions. We were up 10 then made a mistake on the first play on Olynyk with stuff we went over yesterday and today. On the second play on Olynyk we made another mistake and it goes from 10 to four. We get the starters back in, get it back to 10 and just give Ellington a three. Right when they game is at about five and a half and we had the chance to put the game away it was just a terrible effort. That’s what you get. We made some mistakes late and a couple of turnovers but that game should have been a 10 or 15-point win if we defend the way we were supposed to. I’d say in the fourth quarter alone we made six or seven mistakes on stuff that was covered yesterday, worked on live and then we did it again this morning and that’s how you become a team that wins two and loses one. Just total lack of concentration, intensity and technique. It’s disappointing and it has to change.” – Hornets Head Coach Steve Clifford

Next Up

The Hornets five-game homestand continues with a 7 p.m. tip on Monday against the Sacramento Kings at Spectrum Center. The game can be seen on FOX Sports Southeast or heard on WFNZ or on the official Charlotte Hornets mobile app.