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Charlotte Hornets 95, Miami Heat 98: Notes and observations

Marvin Williams masterfully slipped screens on offense en route to his 27 points, however, slippage on certain plays on defense contributed to a close loss for the Charlotte Hornets.

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Marvin Williams Slipping the Pick-and-Roll Screen

Marvin Williams's rebirth of a season has been documented beforehand. He already entered this game averaging 17.0 points per game over the last five contests in only 27.8 minutes of game time. However, you still get caught off guard from time to time by the extra bounce he has to his step or by a sudden barrage of scoring.

In this case it's only understandable. Marv hadn't scored more than 27 points in almost four years. Last time Williams did so was a 29-point effort in a Hawks uniform against the Knicks.

What I particularly liked last night was Williams manipulating the defense with the threat that his outside shot is. His man relaxes for a second to gather for a hedge or a switch on the pick-and-roll, and BOOM, Marvin cuts to the basket instead of setting the on-ball screen.

Naturally, Nicolas Batum was the man with the assist on all of these three plays.

Luol Deng's Pinpoint Cutting

Miami Heat's 24th best offense's (per's offensive efficiency) shortcomings stem from the lack of space that they have out there on the court. It can be tough to play two rather traditional bigs alongside wings who either like to operate within the three-point line (Dwyane Wade) or are just "okay" three-point shooters (Luol Deng).

In such an environment any kind of veteran off-ball trickery is needed to boost scoring. Deng managed to do just that behind the back of the man who guarded him at the time.

The Sudanese-born player waited for his match-up to slide down and offer weak-side help on a pick-and-roll before backdooring him for a layup. Here's an example of Deng starting a base-line cut and losing Nicolas Batum:

It didn't always work out since working in such close quarters is tough to pull off. But Deng sure did burn the Hornets defense for a couple of buckets in the paint. Moreover, Batum got lucky when the former Blue Devil missed an open corner three.

Our Best Defenders Getting Beat on Important Possessions

It isn't a dig at either Michael Kidd-Gilchrist or Marvin Williams as overall they had good performances. Charlotte's two turnovers on offense down late were as hurtful as were the following plays.

But both of them getting beat on one-on-one drives during the last two minutes of the game contributed to the game slipping out of the team's hands.

P.J. Hairston's and Jeremy Lamb's Minutes

This was the first game that all of Kemba Walker, Nicolas Batum and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist were healthy for the Hornets. Thus the playing time of Hairston and Lamb, already on a previous downslide, lessened to 13 and 9 minutes respectively.

Jeremy Lin also saw only 16 minutes of action. Troy Daniels got his second straight DNP - CD.

With coach Steve Clifford usually theorizing that a nine-man rotation is the most suitable for the NBA (last night Charlotte went ten deep), both of these two-guards need to start showing the best of them not to become the odd man out.

Hornets Honor Alonzo Mourning

In case you missed it, here is the material of the Charlotte Hornets organization honoring Alonzo Mourning last night.