This is the benefit of a star player, or for that matter two star players. Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh came up big for the Miami Heat late in tonight's contest, while the Hornets struggled — failing to even get a shot off on perhaps the two most important possessions of the game.
I think this loss hurts more than most for a number of reasons. Firstly, apologies to the city of Miami but their basketball team isn't all that fun to watch, and as a fan of the Hornets/Bobcats for the last decade-plus, I feel VERY qualified in offering that sentiment. It's a team of mostly good players who are past their prime and mis-matched, and really unless Wade is turning back the clock or Winslow's giving a glimpse of the future, there isn't that much to be mined from their games. We didn't even get to see former Bobcat Josh McRoberts (tear).
More importantly however, the Heat are a team the Hornets need to beat if they're going to take the next step in the Eastern Conference. Yes, Al Jefferson is still hurt, and Kemba Walker and Nic Batum have been dealing with injuries, but this just felt like one of those games you win if your team is going to make any noise at all in the post season. Maybe it's too easy to overreact to one game, but in the moment at least, this one hurts.
On the brighter side of things, Marvin Williams scored a season high 27 points, and really played with an offensive aggressiveness and versatility that we really hadn't seen from him so far this season. Kemba and Batum played well for the most part as well, hitting threes again, and Batum had his fair share of playmaker-y. Whiteside may have been the biggest problem for the Hornets tonight, squeaking out a triple double of 10 points, rebounds, and blocks, in only 27 minutes of play. Cody Zeller for example had almost as many blocked attempts (4) as he did shot attempts (7).
Not to mention, the Hornets actually led for much of the game, riding Nic and Kemba's aforementioned hot hands in the third quarter to a six point lead heading into the fourth. That lead quickly evaporated however, with a sub par performance from the Hornets bench, (which was so strong even from a league perspective to start the season) an all too familiar characteristic of Hornets losses as of late. Paired with the run from Bosh and Wade down the stretch, the Hornets ended up giving away a game that was more than winnable.
They stay at home for a game against the Washington Wizards tomorrow night, another game that the Hornets should win, but will be going up against another All-Star in John Wall. Let's hope for a W, and possibly some good vibes to send to our football team across the country. #KeepPounding