Where: American Airlines Arena; Miami, Florida
When: 7:30 p.m. EST
How to watch: Fox Sports Southeast, NBA League Pass
On Friday night, the Hornets were able to close a game in the fourth quarter, dismantling the Hawks en route to victory. Now, Charlotte goes back on the road for the first of a three game road trip against the Miami Heat. Despite having the game basically in hand in their last matchup, Charlotte managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. However, the team is still playing good basketball since their road victory against the Warriors last December.
The Miami Heat come into this game with a few injury concerns to some of their best players. However, it seems that most of these issues have subsided for players like Goran Dragic. In the meantime, Tyler Johnson is battling an ankle injury and Dion Waiters is set to miss the rest of the season after ankle surgery. There are still many threats on this well-coached Heat team.
Erik Spoelstra is getting the most out of his team and especially out of Josh Richardson and Wayne Ellington. Both players are having career seasons thanks to improvements from three point range. They played a part in their stunning victory over the Hornets last time they played each other. It will take all 48 minutes (and I mean all) to take down this team.
Kemba Walker played his part in the Hornets victory over the Hawks, a win that takes the Hornets to 9-6 in their last 15 games. Dwight Howard was also excellent in that win and looks to win the center matchup against Hassan Whiteside and impressive rookie Bam Adebayo. If they can get contributions from Nicolas Batum and the bench, the Hornets could spoil the party for the Heat.
Overall, this game is winnable for the Hornets. If they can stay close for most of the game and then find a way to close the deal in the fourth once again, they can win this game. However, inconsistency has stuck around this season. They will need to put together a complete game on both ends to beat a team as good as the Heat are. If the Hornets are looking for a season changing win, this would be the best place to get one.