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Heat check: Miami’s hot shooting buries Hornets again

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The Miami Heat continued their torrid postseason shooting and rolled to a 115-103 victory over the Charlotte Hornets in Game 2 of their Eastern Conference first-round series. Miami shot 58 percent from the field, matching their 58 percent shooting in their 123-91 Game 1 victory, also at the American Airlines Arena.

The Heat scored from every angle in the first half, shooting a team record 74 percent in the first half to establish a 72-60 lead. For their part, Charlotte was playing well, but could not keep up with Miami’s shooting onslaught.

After playing to a 29-29 tie in the first quarter, Miami put up 43 points in the second quarter. They scored 23 points in three and a half minutes and missed only three shots the entire period, leaving the Hornets totally frustrated.

Exemplifying Charlotte’s frustration was the first possession of the second half. The Hornets missed their first five shots but grabbed five offensive rebounds before missing their sixth attempt to come up empty. The Heat rebounded that miss leading to a Luol Deng jump shot that took the lead to 14.

Miami eventually cooled off in the third period, but Charlotte could not get closer than seven points. The Heat led at the end of the third quarter, 91-72.

Goran Dragic’s five-footer gave Miami their biggest lead at 99-83 with 7:35 remaining. The Hornets got within 105-98 with 3:05 remaining, but would get no closer.

After Sunday’s blowout, Heat Coach Erik Spoelstra was expecting the best shot from the Hornets, and they may well have received it. But Miami played at a high level and shot even higher.

“What we expected was a big response from them,” said Spoelstra. “Our guys were able to be really aggressive, able to knock down some shots and the pace was better than it was in the first game. As we move onto Charlotte, we can’t just bank down on our offense.”

Dwyane Wade led the Heat with 28 points and Dragic added 18. Hassan Whiteside was a perfect eight-for-eight from the field on the way to 17 points. He also had 13 rebounds.

Kemba Walker tried to keep the Hornets in the game with 29 points, but his effort was far from sufficient. Al Jefferson had 25 points off the bench.

With the Heat holding a 2-0 lead, Charlotte faces a must-win in Game 3. They will host that game on Saturday.

 

Bob Sparks is President of Ramos and Sparks Group, a Tallahassee-based business and political consulting firm. During his career, he has directed media relations and managed events for professional baseball, served as chief spokesperson for the Republican Party of Florida as well as the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the Attorney General of Florida. After serving as Executive Deputy Chief of Staff for Governor Charlie Crist, he returned to the private sector working with clients including the Republican National Committee and political candidates in Japan. He lives in Tallahassee with his wife, Sue and can be reached at Bob@ramos-sparks.com.

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