Charlotte Hornets

Charlotte Hornets pull away from Miami Heat with big third quarter

The Charlotte Hornets are 1-6 this season when center Cody Zeller (right) doesn’t play. Zeller could miss another month or more due to a fractured right hand.
The Charlotte Hornets are 1-6 this season when center Cody Zeller (right) doesn’t play. Zeller could miss another month or more due to a fractured right hand. AP

Kemba Walker was the one Charlotte Hornet assured to start before training camp began, so he could afford to work his way into the preseason.

Walker, a two-time All-Star at point guard, got it going in the third quarter Tuesday, scoring 10 of his 18 points in a 122-113 victory over the Miami Heat at Spectrum Center. The Hornets are 2-1 in the preseason under new coach James Borrego.

The Hornets struggled early, particularly on defense, against a big Heat lineup that featured Gastonia’s Hassan Whiteside at center and Kelly Olynyk at power forward. But the Hornets closed a gap of as many to 14 to five at halftime and pulled away by outscoring Miami 30-19 in the third quarter. That’s when both teams subbed in reserves.

That opened up some fourth-quarter playing time for rookie point guard Devonte Graham after Borrego got some run for veteran Tony Parker at the position.

Three who mattered

Cody Zeller: He appears to have eliminated any real doubt as to who should start at center for the Hornets. He made six of his first eight shots (although they need more from him as a rebounder).

Marvin Williams: Coach James Borrego wants more 3-pointers attempted, particularly from the corners. That would fall to a large degree on power forward Williams, who made four of his five attempts from 3 Tuesday.

Whiteside: He finished with 14 points and 15 rebounds.

Observations

The Hornets were inevitably going to take a hit in rim-protection and rebounding when they traded Dwight Howard over the summer, but Tuesday was particularly bad in those regards early. In the first half, the Heat scored 30 of its 63 points in the paint. Also, Miami had 15 second-chance points (points coming after offensive rebounds) to zero for the Hornets.

Funny moment when Malik Monk was inserted into the game, only to realize he forgot to put on a jersey under his warmup suit. Monk ran back to the locker room for a uniform adjustment, and gave teammates a playful thumbs-up as he ran back to the bench.

Rookie Miles Bridges is going to be a very popular Hornet based on the reaction he got when he entered the game and after a block and later a dunk in the first half.

Jeremy Lamb appears to have established himself as the starting shooting guard. Monk will play a lot this season regardless of whether he starts or comes off the bench.

Hornets don’t play another exhibition until Monday, at home against the Chicago Bulls. This ended a span of three games in five nights, less than ideal this early in an NBA preseason. Borrego is looking forward to several days of practice..

Worth mentioning

Seems like Whiteside has missed several chances to play in Charlotte because of past injuries.

Borrego started the same lineup he did in the first exhibition in Chapel Hill: Walker, Lamb, Nic Batum, Williams and Zeller..

Zeller, not known for shooting range, has made his first two 3-point attempts this preseason.

They said it

“He’s doing well, he’s getting better. Hopefully, it’s only a couple of days and we’ll have him back..” – Borrego on the concussion Michael Kidd-Gilchrist suffered Sunday in Boston.

“The challenge for our group tonight is coming with a presence, a physicality, an urgency.” – Borrego on his first game coaching at Spectrum Center.

“This is a team we have to go through in the East to be relevant.” – Borrego on the rivalry with the Heat.

Report card

B OFFENSE: The 30-point third quarter was a model for what Borrego wants.

C- DEFENSE: That first half against a big Miami lineup exposed flaws.

B COACHING: For the most part, Borrego is getting the sort of pace and shot choices he outlined at training camp.

HORNETS 122, HEAT 113

Miami

Min

FG-A

FT-A

R

A

F

Pt

Olynyk

22:41

5-10

5-5

4

1

4

18

Winslow

25:09

3-8

1-2

5

3

5

7

Whiteside

26:38

5-7

4-7

15

1

3

14

Dragic

23:44

4-12

4-4

4

4

1

12

McGruder

24:03

3-7

4-5

3

3

3

12

T.Johnson

23:02

1-7

2-6

3

0

0

4

Robinson

21:20

2-5

0-0

1

0

3

5

Wade

19:59

2-11

0-0

4

3

2

5

Lee

12:42

4-7

2-2

6

1

1

10

Maten

12:00

3-6

2-4

2

0

0

10

Weber

12:00

4-7

0-0

3

3

2

10

Newman

9:18

1-5

0-0

1

1

0

2

Jones Jr.

7:23

2-2

0-0

0

1

3

4

Percentages: FG .415, FT .686. 3-Point Goals: 11-29, .379 (Olynyk 3-4, Weber 2-2, Maten 2-3, McGruder 2-3, Wade 1-3, Robinson 1-4, T.Johnson 0-2, Winslow 0-2, Dragic 0-3, Newman 0-3). Team Rebounds: 13. Team Turnovers: 12 (13 PTS). Blocked Shots: 4 (Whiteside 2, McGruder, Wade). Turnovers: 12 (Dragic 3, Whiteside 3, Olynyk 2, Winslow 2, Wade, Weber). Steals: 7 (Olynyk 2, Maten, McGruder, T.Johnson, Wade, Whiteside). Technical Fouls: Wade, 00:04 second; coach Heat (Defensive three second), 8:46 third.

TableStyle: SP-bkwideplayersCCI Template: SP-bkwideplayers

Charlotte

Min

FG-A

FT-A

R

A

F

Pt

Batum

19:30

3-8

3-4

2

2

4

9

Williams

18:12

4-6

0-0

3

0

4

12

Zeller

23:14

6-9

2-2

3

2

4

15

Lamb

25:17

3-10

0-0

0

4

2

6

Walker

30:33

4-10

8-10

6

5

0

18

Bridges

27:07

5-9

2-2

6

0

3

14

Monk

22:42

3-7

0-0

1

7

4

8

Bacon

19:44

3-5

4-5

5

0

1

11

Hernangomez

16:47

6-7

3-3

10

1

3

16

Parker

13:00

4-6

0-0

2

7

2

8

Kaminsky

7:49

0-4

0-0

2

1

0

0

Graham

4:27

1-1

0-0

3

0

1

3

Chealey

4:27

0-0

2-2

0

0

0

2

Macura

4:27

0-1

0-0

0

0

1

0

Wilkins

2:41

0-0

0-0

0

0

1

0

Percentages: FG .506, FT .857. 3-Point Goals: 14-30, .467 (Williams 4-5, Bridges 2-3, Monk 2-5, Walker 2-5, Bacon 1-1, Graham 1-1, Hernangomez 1-1, Zeller 1-2, Batum 0-1, Macura 0-1, Parker 0-1, Kaminsky 0-2, Lamb 0-2). Team Rebounds: 4. Team Turnovers: 14 (16 PTS). Blocked Shots: 10 (Hernangomez 4, Lamb 3, Bridges, Williams, Zeller). Turnovers: 14 (Batum 2, Monk 2, Walker 2, Bacon, Bridges, Graham, Hernangomez, Kaminsky, Parker, Williams, Zeller). Steals: 4 (Walker 2, Hernangomez, Williams). Technical Fouls: coach Hornets (Defensive three second), 00:58 first.

Miami

34

29

19

31

113

Charlotte

25

33

30

34

122

Att.—8,417 (19,077). T—2:17.

Officials—Jason Phillips, Dedric Taylor, Mousa Dagher

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