The Charlotte Hornets earned an important Game 5 win on the road against the Miami Heat, 90-88. Courtney Lee knocked down a 3-pointer with 25.2 seconds remaining to give Charlotte the lead, and the Hornets would hold on to win. Marvin Williams lead the Hornets with 17 points, making 3-4 from the 3-point line. Dwyane Wade lead all scorers with 25 points.
Much like in the Games 1-4, Miami got out to a fast start, scoring on their first five shots. After missing their first two 3-pointers, Charlotte knocked down their next five. It was the first time all series Charlotte shot well from beyond the arc. They would finish 12-24 from the 3-point line, by far their best game from beyond the arc this series.
Both teams found it difficult to score in the early goings of the 2nd quarter, as each team went with lineups that hadn't played a lot of minutes together. The Hornets would then make a run by forcing turnovers, and would lead by 12 at point. Miami would cut back into the lead, and Charlotte would head into halftime up just two points. Both teams' runs came as a result of the other team turning the ball over, with Miami and Charlotte committing 9 and 8 turnovers, respectively.
Charlotte got out to a hot start early in the 3rd quarter, and then the shots stopped falling. They'd miss 12 straight, and Miami would take advantage and get the lead back. Miami would hold that lead throughout the 3rd quarter, with Charlotte struggling to make shots, and head into the 4th quarter up by five points.
Miami would slightly build on their lead in the early parts of the 4th quarter, but would only by as much as seven. Nicolas Batum, who hadn't made a field goal entering the 4th, knocked two crucial 3-pointers in the 4th to get Charlotte back in the game, and get the lead, 80-78. Luol Deng would respond with a 3-pointer of his own, and from that point it would be back and forth, with Lee's 3-pointer at the end capping off the victory.
The Hornets were out-scored in the paint 48-34, and were out-rebounded 50-41. Both these figures would have doomed Charlotte in the previous games, but the Hornets were finally able to knock down 3-point shots, and it made a huge difference, with Miami shooting just 27.8 percent from beyond the arc.
What's more, the Hornets overcame a 4-18 shooting performance from Kemba Walker, whose shooting mirrored the rest of the team, as he was 3-5 from the 3-point line but just 1-13 from inside the arc. Jeremy Lin wasn't as big a factor scoring the ball as in Games 3 and 4, finishing with just 11, but had seven assists and six rebounds, and made a lot of key plays throughout the game. Al Jefferson continued to be consistent and effective, finishing with 14 points and seven rebounds in 21 minutes. Spencer Hawes also played well in the 1st half, making plays on offense and providing key stops on defense, including a block on Justice Winslow.
No Hornets player was more important than Lee, however. For the second straight game, Lee came up with a key offensive rebound late in the game, but this time capped it off with the go-ahead 3-point shot. His stat line, eight points on 2-9 shooting, will suggest a less than average game, but Lee came through on offense when it mattered, and his defense on Wade was superb.
Tonight's win was crucial for Charlotte. Winning Game 5 gives them a chance to take the series at home, where they have been strong all season. After two bad losses in Games 1 and 2, the Hornets have now won three straight, and hold the advantage heading into Friday's game.