Charlotte Hornets Defeat Miami Heat 96-80; Still Down 2-1 in the Series

(Charlotte Hornets Defeat Miami Heat) – Coming into Game 3, the Charlotte Hornets were not only down 2-0 in their first-round series against the Miami Heat. In addition, they had lost their previous 12 playoff contests spanning over 14 years. If they had lost tonight, they would’ve tied the New York Knicks’ record for most consecutive playoff losses at 13.

Charlotte Hornets Defeat Miami HeatKnowing they had to do something differently, the Charlotte Hornets thought up a new gameplan: Feed Frank Kaminsky the ball in the post. Since the advice was coming from Michael Jordan, the team’s owner, and Patrick Ewing, team’s assistant coach, there was a good chance that it could work.

In the first quarter, the game was kept very close. The end of the quarter saw a 29-28 contest in the Hornets’ favor. The two teams were battling back and forth, with neither team making a statement yet.

The second quarter was much of the same, although Charlotte started to pull ahead a little bit. Outscoring the Heat 20-16 in the second half, Charlotte had a 49-44 lead going into halftime.

The third quarter is where we saw things start to get interesting. It seemed like head coach, Steve Clifford, said something during halftime that made his team not want to lose that 13th playoff game in a row. Not too long after the third quarter started, the game was tied at 53. That’s when the Hornets decided enough was enough.

Starting to use Kaminsky like they planned to, the Hornets saw it start to work in their favor. After being tied at 53, Charlotte went on a scorching 18-0 run, including the fact they outscored the Heat 26-14 in the quarter. Kaminsky scored 11 of his 15 points in the quarter, igniting the team’s offense.

Eventually, the Hornets knew they had the victory when they led by as much as 24 in the final quarter. The Heat couldn’t play catch up and ultimately led to them letting Game 3 go to the Hornets.

What Went Wrong for the Heat?

The Heat have been scorching hot in the first two games of this series. However, they didn’t bring that same gameplay into Saturday’s Game 3.

Charlotte Hornets Defeat Miami Heat

Charlotte Hornets Defeat Miami Heat

First off, they didn’t shoot the ball nearly as well as the previous two games. Limited to 34 percent from the floor in Game 3, the Heat were far from their 58 percent mark from Game 1 and Game 2. In addition, they weren’t even close to being efficient in the paint in Saturday’s game. The Hornets outscored the Heat 52-28 in the paint. 28 points is terrible for a team, especially when you have a dominant big-man down low, Hassan Whiteside.

The other struggles for Miami came with their three-point shooting and their turnovers. Although they started the game fairly well, hitting 5 of their first 7 shots from behind the arc (4 coming from Luol Deng), the rest of the game didn’t show the same. They only hit 1 of their next 13 three-pointers. They also turned the ball over at a much, much higher rate than the Hornets, who only had 4. Miami turned the ball over a total of 15 times.

Game 3 Statistics

For the Hornets, Jeremy Lin led the way with 18 points, while adding 4 rebounds, 4 assists and 2-of-3 from the three-point line. Kemba Walker chipped in with 17 points and 7 assists, Kaminsky scored 15 points and Marvin Williams showed excellent play with 12 points and 14 rebounds.

For the Miami Heat, Luol Deng led the team with 19 points and also added 8 rebounds to his sheet. Dwyane Wade followed with 17 points and 7 rebounds, while Hassan Whiteside scored 13 points and grabbed a whopping 18 rebounds. The team really struggled with their shooting. Between Deng, Joe Johnson, Goran Dragic and Dwyane Wade, they shot 20-of-56 from the field.

Game 4 will be held on Monday, where the Hornets will have a chance to tie the series up at 2-2. If not, the Heat will go into Game 5 up 3-2 in the series with a chance to close it out. It’s another pivotal game for both teams, who are looking to make it to the second round of the playoffs.

(Charlotte Hornets Defeat Miami Heat)