The Heat came out of the game blistering hot. The Heat hit their first seven shots and 16 of their 19 first quarter attempts. Derrick Jones Jr., who’s a 25% 3-point shooter on the season, hit three 3-pointers in the first eight minutes of the game. The Hornets weren’t able to keep up that pace and quickly fell into a 20-point hole in the first quarter. The Hornets seemed flustered by the Heat’s hot start. They played sped up and committed six first quarter turnovers and shot just 35% from the field. By the end of the quarter, the Hornets trailed 40-22.
The second quarter could not have been any different. The Heat missed their first ten shots of the quarter and turned it over three times in that span. A Goran Dragic technical free throw was the only Heat point during that near six minute span. The Hornets came alive on the offensive end. Jalen McDaniels and Miles Bridge splashed 3-pointers to get the run started. Bridges later tip slammed his own miss to pull the Hornets within four and force a Heat timeout.
Devonte’ Graham hit a 3-pointer out of the timeout before the Heat finally put the ball in the basket, ending the Hornets’ 18-1 run. A mini-run by the Heat was quickly overcome by another monster Hornets run. The Hornets outscored the Heat 19-4 over the last 4:04 of the half. Devonte’ Graham got hot and hit three 3-pointers while the Hornets defense completely disrupted the Heat offense. Graham and dribbled into this 3-pointer to give the Hornets an eight point lead heading into the half:
Graham carried his hot shooting into the third quarter with another early three. The Hornets went zone heavy on defense and had a few breakdowns, but otherwise did a good job forcing the Heat into tough shots. Graham’s second 3-pointer of the quarter about midway through gave the Hornets 19 makes on their last 23 shots, dating back to the early second quarter. A Caleb Martin 3-pointer gave the Hornets a 15 point lead, their largest of the game. Between the 1:12 mark of the first quarter and 4:19 mark of the third, the Hornets outscored the Heat 61-26. After three quarters, the Hornets led by 10.
The Hornets continued their very strong defensive play into the fourth quarter. They kept a comfortable stiff arm between eight and twelve points for most of the quarter. The Heat their biggest push in the game’s final minutes, eventually pulling within five. Devonte’ Graham would have none of that though.
Jae Crowder brought the Heat back within five a little later, but Graham hit a floater high off the glass to put a dagger through the Heat.
After the Heat’s initial onslaught, the Hornets played the stellar defense they’ve brought most of the last few weeks. The Heat struggled to generate open looks for themselves and at times it looked like there were six Hornets on the court defensively.
Caleb Martin continued his scoring streak with 19 points and another three 3-pointers (he’s now 20-of-37 from deep on the season). PJ Washington and Miles Bridges bounced back from poor performances with 17 and 16 points respecitvely.
We don’t know what’s next for the Hornets as the league takes an indefinite hiatus to work out plans to deal with the coronavirus outbreak.