Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade helped the Miami Heat steal a victory the Charlotte Hornets felt they should have secured Friday night at Time Warner Cable Arena.
Bosh and Wade combined for 42 points, and both made key plays in the final moments of a 98-95 win that kept the Hornets from climbing back to .500 and building on a big win two nights prior against the Eastern Conference-leading Cleveland Cavaliers.
The Hornets led 93-90, but the Heat scored eight straight points. Wade made a twisting, falling shot with 61 seconds left, then Bosh converted a 3-point play with 23.5 seconds remaining. When the Hornets had one final chance, Wade stole the ball and fed Luol Deng for a dunk with a pass while laying on the floor to end any doubt for the Heat (29-22).
Marvin Williams had a season-high 27 points for the Hornets. He scored seven straight at one point to put the Hornets ahead 91-88 before the Heat’s two future Hall of Fame members took over. The Hornets (24-26) have been below .500 since a seven-game losing streak in late December-early January dropped them to 17-20.
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Three who mattered
Chris Bosh: He had the go-ahead 3-point play in the final minute shortly after Williams had nailed a couple of jump shots in front of him. Bosh finished with 20 points, including seven of Miami’s 31 in the final quarter.
Nic Batum: He filled the box score with 21 points, seven assists, six rebounds and four of Charlotte’s 10 baskets from beyond the 3-point line.
Hassan Whiteside: One of the best shot-erasers in the NBA, Whiteside had a triple-double with 10 points, 10 rebounds and 10 blocks. He had five blocks in each half, and reached double-digits for the second time this season when coming off the bench.
▪ The Hornets honored Alonzo Mourning with a key to “Buzz City” at halftime, and he was welcomed to center court with a loud standing ovation. Mourning, who is currently the Vice President of Player Programs and Development with the Heat, played the first three seasons of his NBA career in Charlotte en route to a place in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
▪ While the Hornets are one of the NBA’s best examples of the 3-point line-focused offensive revolution in recent seasons, the Heat played a very old-school game Friday. They did not make a 3-pointer in the game, missing all nine attempts.
▪ The Hornets have had a consistently strong bench, even through all of the injuries, but that wasn’t the case Friday. They produced 12 points on 4-of-20 shooting. “Our bench play tonight was not good at all,” Hornets coach Steve Clifford. “No energy, no juice, none of them were ready.”
▪ Wade did not score in the first quarter and attempted only shot, but he became the focal point of the offense in the second and threw down a vintage, vicious dunk in transition.
▪ One of the loudest cheers of the night came before the game began. Keryl Silas, wife of Hornets assistant coach Stephen Silas, belted a stirring rendition of the Star-Spangled Banner.
▪ Clifford said Walker had his left knee “drained” on Wednesday. He missed Charlotte’s win Wednesday night, but finished with 20 points, six assists and five rebounds in more than 36 minutes of playing time against the Heat.
▪ The Heat were outscored 30-0 beyond the 3-point line, but combated that by dominating in the paint. Miami doubled up Charlotte with a 64-32 advantage in the painted area.
▪ Justise Winslow, the 10th pick in the 2015 NBA draft, had eight points and 10 rebounds in nearly 33 minutes off the bench for the Heat. Frank Kaminsky, the ninth pick in the 2015 draft, had no points, three rebounds and three assists in 15:34 of action for the Hornets.
They said it
“We didn’t close the deal. They made big plays. D-Wade and Bosh, that’s not the first time they did that. They are great players, but that game was ours. We gave it away.” – Batum
“Whiteside just dominated every aspect of that game. … He is right now the premier rim protector in this league. … He changed the game when he came in. They were a totally different team. We got crushed in the paint.” – Clifford
“I don’t feel nostalgic at all. I feel at home. I really do. When I come back to Charlotte, I truly thank the fans, just from those three years of playing, any time I come back they make me feel at home. In the airport, I go to restaurants – they make him feel at home and it is a really special feeling.” – Mourning, on if he feels any nostalgia when he returns to Charlotte