Miles Bridges opened the scoring for the Hornets after a Nicolas Batum steal. After that, it was tough sledding for the Hornets. Cody Zeller missed several bunnies while the Heat built a decent lead. Malik Monk checked in for the first time this preseason and promptly hit a tough 3-pointer. It wasn’t enough to get the Hornets into rhythm, as they finished the first quarter shooting just 38.5% from the field and 20% from three. They trailed the Heat 31-23.
The second quarter was a little better. Terry Rozier scored nine of the Hornets first eleven points while the other two came on an impressive Monk dunk. After that, the Heat went on a 15-4 run that included several Heat players catching passes unguarded at the rim for easy buckets. A Hornets timeout didn’t stop the bleeding. The Hornets went into halftime down 63-42.
The second half was more of the same. The Heat quickly extended their lead to 33 points before the midway point of the third quarter. They apparently felt bad about that and proceeded to turn the ball over repeatedly, allowing the Hornets to cut ten points off their deficit. After three, the Hornets trailed 90-63.
The fourth quarter was spent trimming the margin to a respectable amount. PJ Washington played well. So did Caleb Martin, which is encouraging. Both players scored in double figures for the second time in as many games.
Don’t let the final score fool you. This was an incredibly poor performance for the Hornets main rotation players. Terry Rozier, Miles Bridges, and Dwayne Bacon had plus-minuses of -26, -27, and -28 respectively. Willy Hernangomez was -18 in eight minutes. The defense looked disorganized. The offense was stagnant and no one could make shots consistently.
Fortunately this game doesn’t count, and we can forget all about when the Hornets take on the Grizzlies Friday night.