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Hornets lead early but can’t hold on against the Heat in 105-100 loss

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Another fourth-quarter collapse leads to the team’s fourth straight loss.

NBA: Charlotte Hornets at Miami Heat Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The Charlotte Hornets let a close game against the Miami Heat slip through their fingers on Friday night, losing 105-100 despite 16 points from Marvin Williams. Charlotte started hot and led by as much as 15, but it wasn’t enough to overcome a hot shooting night from Miami.

The Charlotte offense took a big hit with the announcement that Kemba Walker would sit this game out due to a left shoulder injury. Walker is listed as day-to-day and should be back when the Hornets play the Bulls on Monday night.

The Hornets got off to a lightning fast start, running up a 16-1 lead in the first six minutes of the game. It helped of course that Miami shot 1-for-12 from the field to start things off, but Dwight Howard and Marvin Williams also had a little something to do with that.

Charlotte did a great job protecting the rim for the most part during the first half, with only a couple less impressive stretches without Howard or Williams on the floor.

It wasn’t until the second quarter that things started to stall for the Hornets. When Nicolas Batum sits, Jeremy Lamb or Malik Monk simply has to step up and find good shots. If they don’t, then the team is in trouble, especially without Kemba Walker.

You can’t subsist on Frank Kaminsky floaters, or Michael Kidd-Gilchrist rising up from mid-range. For several minutes at a time, the offense was essentially consisted of feeding Howard in the post against Kelly Olynyk, and while that’s undeniably a good match-up, it’s not the foundation of an efficient offense.

Dwight Howard left the game with roughly seven minutes left in the third quarter after picking up his fifth foul. He wouldn’t return. Howard also tied the franchise record for turnovers in a single game with nine. The Spirit of Raymond Felton remains alive.

Both teams struggled to make shots for several minutes down the stretch, but Dion Waiters and Josh Richardson finally sealed the game for Miami and gave the Hornets their second loss in a row.

For the Heat, Richardson went off with a career-high 27 points and put on an efficiency clinic. Richardson shot a sizzling 11-for-14 from the field and 3-for-4 from 3-point range. Miami shot 40 percent from deep as a team, and that would make things difficult for any opponent, let alone one that shot only 20 3-pointers as a team.

The Hornets will welcome the Orlando Magic to town on Monday night at 7 pm ET, hoping to right the ship and avoid a 3-game losing streak.