Miami took a commanding 2-0 series lead over Charlotte on Wednesday night, defeating the Hornets 115-103. The HEAT displayed a balanced scoring attack in the game, as five players scored in double figures with Dwyane Wade leading the charge with 28 points.
In Game 1 on Sunday, the HEAT jumped out to an early 41-22 lead after the first quarter and led for the entire game. The Hornets were able to get out to a much better start in Game 2 as the two teams were tied after the first quarter.
The second quarter proved to be pivotal in the game; the HEAT opened up a 12-point lead after finishing the first half on a 25-13 run. The HEAT converted on 16-of-19 shots in the quarter and were paced by nine points from Hassan Whiteside and eight points each from Luol Deng and Goran Dragic.
Defense for the Hornets has been a big issue so far in this series. The Hornets allowed the HEAT to shoot 57.6 percent from the field in Game 1 and 57.9 percent from the field in Game 2. The HEAT have been able to dictate the flow of the games by pushing the pace as much as possible and the Hornets haven’t been able to slow them down.
Perhaps the biggest surprise of this series has been the three-point shooting. The Hornets came into this series averaging the fourth-most three-point makes per game while the HEAT averaged the third-fewest three-point makes per game.
The roles of the two teams have completely switched, as the Hornets have shot only 21 percent (7-of-33) from three-point range in the two games and the HEAT have converted on 53 percent (18-of-34) of their three-point shots during the series.
Kemba Walker came out on fire in the first half, scoring 21 points on 8-of-13 shooting from the field. Miami was able to cool Walker off as he went just 1-of-7 from the field in the third quarter and would finish with the game with 29 points. The Hornets were able to limit the HEAT to 43 points in the second half, but were unable to make up the first-half deficit.
Josh Richardson came up big for the HEAT, as he chipped in 15 points off of the bench. He helped the HEAT withstand the Hornets’ comeback attempt by scoring eight points in the third quarter.
Whiteside was able to remain effective for the entire game after picking up two early fouls in the first quarter. He finished with 17 points on a perfect 8-of-8 shooting from the field while adding 13 rebounds and two blocked shots.
The series will now shift to Charlotte for the next two games as the Hornets will attempt to get back into the series. Game 3 is set to tip off at 5:30 p.m. EST on Saturday. Charlotte posted a 30-11 record in their arena during the regular season and hope some home cooking on Saturday will help them stay alive.
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