The Hornets managed to get a small 9-7 lead midway through the first quarter, but Miami quickly regained momentum and never looked back.
The Hornets were bogged down by a team-wide horrible night shooting the ball.
They only made six shots in the first quarter. At halftime, the Hornets had only a slight improvement and was shooting 39 percent from the floor. The Hornets were able to stay in the game at the halfway mark thanks to some early success from three where they hit on four of nine attempts.
But in the third quarter, the Hornets’ offense ran into two problems: the 3-pointers stopped falling, and the Hornets only attempted two free throws in the quarter despite Kelly Olynyk playing the entire quarter with three fouls. And yet despite that, Charlotte was able to keep the game within reach heading into the fourth quarter.
In the fourth, Charlotte actually outscored Miami but did so in an inefficient manner. The Hornets scored 27 points in the fourth but shot 8-of-23 in the quarter. Kemba Walker led the way with 15 points in the quarter including three 3-pointers and a perfect 4-of-4 from the free throw line.
Walker finished with 25 points but needed 22 shots to get there. Dwight Howard had 15 points and 16 rebounds and it’s frustrating those numbers weren’t better because Olynyk and Bam Adebayo each had three fouls in the first half. Couple that with Miami being one of the NBA’s worst rebounding teams and you have a major missed opportunity for Howard and the Hornets.
For Miami, the scoring was evenly distributed. Every Heat player scored at least eight points. Tyler Johnson and Wayne Ellington came off the bench and tied for the team lead in points with 16 apiece. All Johnson and Ellington did tonight was make threes, as the pair combined to shoot 9-14 from behind the line. The Heat bench as a whole combined for 51 points tonight.
The Hornets’ schedule isn’t getting any easier. Tomorrow night begins a seven-game stretch against teams with winning records, starting with the Portland Trail Blazers.