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Hornets put Heat on brink of elimination with 90-88 victory

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The Miami Heat dropped a heartbreaking 90-88 decision on the Charlotte Hornets on Wednesday. The loss at American Airlines Arena put the Hornets ahead 3-2 in their best of seven NBA Eastern Conference playoffs first round series.

Courtney Lee made two huge plays for Charlotte at both ends of the court in the final 25 seconds to lead his team to victory. The Hornets can end Miami’s season with a victory in Game 6 on Friday night in Charlotte.

After the Hornets took a 28-25 lead after one quarter, the Heat went 6:12 without a field goal to start the second quarter. In the meantime, Charlotte moved out to a 42-30 lead, but the Head ended the half on a 17-7 run to trail only 49-47 at halftime.

Miami regained the lead at 58-57 on two Luol Deng free throws with 7:01 remaining in the third period. They extended the margin to 71-65 entering the fourth period.

With 5:18 remaining, Nicolas Batum his a three-pointer to put the Hornets back in front, 80-78. With Miami leading 88-87 with 25 seconds remaining, Lee drilled a three-pointer to regain the lead for Charlotte.

Kemba Walker blocked a three-point try by Goran Dragic with seven seconds remaining. Dwyane Wade grabbed the rebound, but Lee blocked his shot with four seconds left. Wade wanted a foul call, but none came and the Hornets ran out the clock.

Marvin Williams led the Hornets with 17 points and eight rebounds. Walker and Al Jefferson each added 14.

For Miami, Wade put on a performance that was a throwback to the Heat’s championship years scoring 25 points. Deng added 16 and Joe Johnson chipped in with 13.

The difference in the game came from behind the three-point line. Charlotte made less than 33 percent of their two-point shots, but drilled 12 of 24 three-point attempts. Miami shot 42 percent, but only five of 18 from three-point range.

The Heat has lost the magical shooting touch that took them to a 2-0 lead earlier in the series. They had better find it on Friday or they will be forced to start making plans for the summer.

 

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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