The Miami Heat hoped tonight that two full days of rest would help them come into Game 2 of their NBA first round series against the Charlotte Hornets ready to protect home court.
The Heat after a close beginning were able to defeat the Hornets 115-103 in front of another sold out American Airlines Arena crown draped in ‘White Hot’ gear. Miami closed the first half shooting 74.4% from the field and finished the game at 57.9%. The team also weathered a late Charlotte run that cut the lead to single digits after Hornets forward Nicolas Batum left the game with a sprained ankle.
Here is the good, the bad, and highlights from the Heat’s victory.
The Heat kept the game close in the beginning against a Hornets team that expectedly came with a more aggressive pace. Nearly every major Miami rotation player helped out from franchise guard Dwyane Wade scoring 28 points to the rookie duo of forward Justise Winslow and guard Josh Richardson living up to their well earned defensive reputation. Center Hassan Whiteside had the best game when looking at the numbers as he notched another double-double with 17 points off a perfect eight-for-eight shooting effort along with 13 rebounds.
As good as Whiteside was on the offensive side of the floor his weakness in guarding highly skilled big men showed itself again when facing Hornets center Al Jefferson who scored 25 points in 27 minutes. Jefferson, an 11-year veteran, was able to use his footwork to get into scoring position on Whiteside who got in foul trouble early.
That foul trouble made itself known late in the fourth quarter when Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra was forced to play forward Luol Deng at the five after Whiteside picked up his fifth foul.
Highlight Of The Night:
The most prolific part of the night was the final few minutes of the first half for Miami as the team kept making almost every shot they took. This allowed the Heat to build a lead that the Hornets couldn’t chip away enough.
The series shifts to Charlotte for Game 3 on Saturday at 5:30 pm EST