The Hornets were en fuego in the first minute of the game. Devonte’ Graham found Cody Zeller on the roll for a dunk, Miles Bridges hit an open 3-pointer, and Terry Rozier made a tough floater to put the Hornets up 7-0 in the first 70 seconds of the game. The good times didn’t last long. It took the Heat a little more than three minutes to even up the score at 12, and they would quickly push past that. The Heat would go on to score 36 points in the opening quarter, but the Hornets kept it close with 31 points of their own.
The Heat threatened to bury the Hornets in the second quarter. They hit seven 3-pointers, most of which came within a couple minutes of each other in the middle of the quarter. The Hornets wouldn’t let the game get away though, primarily thanks to tough defense that limited the Heat to 3-of-10 shooting in the paint. A mini 12-5 run by the Hornets, which included a key 4-point play from Terry Rozier, cut their deficit to 11 points heading into the half.
Kendrick Nunn kept the stream of 3-pointers flowing with a deep bucket 17 seconds into the second half. The Heat had a four possession run in the middle of the quarter that contained three dunks, with a pair of Miles Bridges free throws the only Hornets points during the stretch. That run put the Hornets down 18. James Borrego tried inserting Cody Martin for a jolt of energy, and it seemed to work to an extent thanks to plays like this.
Malik Monk canned a triple in the final seconds of the quarter to pull the Hornets within 16 heading into the fourth quarter.
The fourth quarter gradually devolved into garbage time. The Hornets didn’t play bad, per se. They just couldn’t climb back into the game. Just like in the first three quarters, they were outscored by a modest single digit margin in the quarter. Those will add up in a hurry though.
There was nothing the Hornets did particularly poorly. They just couldn’t keep up with a superior Heat team. They lost every quarter by a margin between one and six points. There are things to build off here.
The Hornets look to get right against a Pistons team they’ve already beaten once this season.