For the second straight night, a third-quarter rally led the Charlotte Hornets to victory, as they outscored the Miami Heat 31-17 in that period en route to a 91-82 win Wednesday night at the Spectrum Center.
Both teams traded single-digit leads for a majority of the first half, but Miami’s Josh Richardson scored 13 second-quarter points to help the Heat (10-23) seize a 49-42 lead entering halftime.
Miami shot 47.6 percent from the field and 53.8 percent on 3-pointers in the first half, while Charlotte (19-14) shot just 31.4 percent and an abysmal 14.3 percent from behind the arc. But momentum started shifting in the Hornets’ favor when play resumed.
Charlotte opened the second half with an 8-0 run to take a 50-49 lead. The Heat regained the lead shortly after that, but the Hornets answered with a pivotal 11-0 run.
Charlotte ultimately shot 56.5 percent from the field in the third quarter, while its defense held Miami to 7-for-17 shooting and forced six turnovers in the period.
The Heat threatened midway in the fourth quarter, pulling within three points on a 3-pointer by Wayne Ellington. But back-to-back baskets by Kemba Walker staved off Miami’s comeback attempt and helped Charlotte win its fifth game in its past six.
Three who mattered
Nic Batum: He recorded his team-leading 10th double-double of the season and fell two assists shy of a triple-double.
Kemba Walker: The Hornets’ point guard finished with 22 points. He’s scored 20-plus points in 22 games this season.
Jeremy Lamb: He provided a spark in the second half, scoring all 10 of his points. The performance marked his 11th double-figure scoring outing of the season.
▪ After also falling short of a triple-double Wednesday night against the Orlando Magic, Batum seemed destined to flirt with another after registering five points, five rebounds, three assists and three steals in the first quarter alone.
▪ Charlotte forced 10 first-half turnovers and only committed three, but Miami still entered halftime with an 8-2 edge in points off turnovers.
▪ The Hornets made their first eight free throws and ultimately finished 14-for-18 at the charity stripe. The Heat went 6-for-13 on free throws.
▪ Charlotte dominated on the offensive glass, where it outrebounded Miami 11-4. This edge led to 14 second-chance points for the Hornets.
▪ Charlotte’s post players did a great job defending Miami’s Hassan Whiteside, who scored just eight points on 4-of-7 shooting.
▪ Walker’s 3-pointer with four minutes, 16 seconds left in the first half gave him 7,000 career points. At 26 years and 235 days old, he’s the youngest player in Charlotte franchise history to reach that mark. Larry Johnson previously held that distinction after surpassing the 7,000-point threshold at 26 years and 360 days.
▪ Marco Belinelli missed his third straight game Thursday with a sprained left ankle. Hornets coach Steve Clifford said the guard-forward is “really day-to-day” with the injury.
They said it
“I don’t know what’s up with us with the third quarter. We’re really good. So if we could start the game the same way we start the third quarter, we would be a really, really good team.” – Batum on the Hornets’ third-quarter success.
“We’ve struggled with our fourth-quarter defense all season. Tonight, we did a good job.” – Clifford.
“We just wanted to come out tonight and play as hard as possible. In the second half, we came out with great intensity and togetherness and pulled out a huge win.” – Walker.