Charlotte Hornets

Nic Batum compiles a triple-double as Charlotte Hornets beat the Miami Heat

Al Jefferson speaks about his suspension

Charlotte Hornets center Al Jefferson speaks to reporters about his 5 game suspension.
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Charlotte Hornets center Al Jefferson speaks to reporters about his 5 game suspension.

That June trade for Nic Batum is looking better all the time.

The Charlotte Hornets got their first triple-double from Batum Wednesday in a 99-81 home victory over the Miami Heat. Batum finished the game with 10 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists. Batum had four previous triple-doubles in the NBA from his time with the Portland Trail Blazers.

The Hornets played fine defense Wednesday, holding the Heat to 54 points in the first three quarters, building a 26-point lead heading into the fourth quarter.

The Hornets are on a three-game winning streak. They improved to 13-8. The Heat fell to 12-8.

Three who mattered

Nic Batum: He had six assists in the first quarter alone. Filling up the box score.

Kemba Walker: Quick hands on defense and fearless drives to the rim were his game Wednesday.

Dwyane Wade: Often he seemed like the only Miami player with any real energy.

Observations

▪  With Al Jefferson serving a five-game suspension after he recovers from that calf injury, Cody Zeller is about to get a very long look at the center position.

▪  Hornets forward Marvin Williams left the game for the locker room briefly in the first half after being hit in the nose.

▪  The Heat’s 36 first-half points were the fewest Hornets have allowed in a half this season.

▪  The major difference when the Hornets built a 22-point lead was the 3-point line. The Hornets made 7-of-17 in the first half, the Heat 2-of-9.

▪  The Hornets have a challenging back-to-back coming up: Friday at Memphis followed by a home game against the Boston Celtics Saturday.

Worth mentioning

▪  Batum made multiple spectacular passes in the first half. Perhaps the best was a lob pass in transition for a Zeller dunk.

▪  This was a big night for Gastonia’s Hassan Whiteside, who missed the Heat’s trip to Charlotte last spring due to injury.

▪  Jefferson’s absence pushes Tyler Hansbrough into at least spot minutes in the rotation.

Report card

A OFFENSE: This was the Hornets’ ninth game this season with 10 or more 3-pointers. They had nine total games with 10 or more 3s last season.

A+ DEFENSE: Holding Miami to 36 first-half points was quite impressive.

A+ COACHING: It’s not easy surviving without your starting center. Hornets are 3-1 since Jefferson’s injury.

 

Bonnell: 704-358-5129; Twitter: @rick_bonnell

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