In their last exhibition before they play two in China, the Charlotte Hornets defeated the Miami Heat 90-77 Sunday night at AmericanAirlines Arena.
The Hornets were outscored in the paint (40-18) and on fast breaks (19-6). But Charlotte won this game with perimeter shooting, going 12 of 29 on 3-pointers for 41.4 percent. Miami made just 3 of 16 from beyond the arc (18.8 percent).
Charlotte earned the win despite resting three players and sitting out three others because of injuries.
Hornets coach Steve Clifford said he has a plan for each of his players to make sure they get enough rest and enough playing time in the preseason. With that in mind, he rested wing Nicolas Batum and centers Al Jefferson and Spencer Hawes.
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Three who mattered
Tyler Hansbrough: The former North Carolina star, back home after signing as a free agent in the offseason, grabbed a game-high 17 rebounds in 32 minutes. He added just four points, but the toughness he adds figures to be important.
Brian Roberts: The backup point guard scored a game-high 21 points, making 6-of-11 shots, including 4-of-6 on 3-pointers.
Frank Kaminsky: The rookie forward/center had nine points and 11 rebounds. Clifford said Kaminsky “has a chance to be very good” but is still figuring out the NBA game and needs to get stronger. Unlike other NBA players – such as LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony and Dwyane Wade, who had NBA bodies even as rookies – Kaminsky will have to work to get there, Clifford said.
▪ Kemba Walker (17 points), Roberts and Jeremy Lin (10 points) showed the depth Charlotte has at point guard, although they were used a fair amount in tandem.
▪ Kaminsky was 0-for-6 on two-pointers and did not shoot a free throw. But he was 3-for-5 on 3s.
▪ Center Cody Zeller also got into the three-point-shooting act, making 2 of 2. The Hornets want to play “four out”, with one post player and at least four players who can shoot from deep.
▪ Forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, who is out with a dislocated right-shoulder, is with the team in Miami but will have an MRI Monday in Charlotte. He could miss from three weeks to three months.
▪ Guards Eliot Williams (strained left hip flexor) and Troy Daniels (tight left hamstring) are also out.
They said it
▪ “It’s a problem. You have to shut the paint down no matter how big you are. They hurt us with their pick and roll.” Clifford on Charlotte’s interior defense
▪ “I feel good about it. … I have a long way to go as far as getting used to the offense.” Hansbrough on his rebounding and his offense.