If the Charlotte Hornets were going have a shot at advancing to the next round, they were going to have to steal a game in Miami. Well, the Hornets did just that on Wednesday night, defeating the HEAT 90-88 to take a 3-2 series lead.
Charlotte’s victory in Miami was the their first postseason win on the road since defeating the Orlando Magic back on April 30, 2002. They now have a chance to advance to the next round of the playoffs with a win over the HEAT on their home court on Friday.
This series has featured pivotal runs from each team and Game 5 was no different. Miami got off to a quick start, roaring out to a 14-6 lead. Charlotte then went on a 14-0 run midway through the period to take a 20-14 lead.
The Hornets took control of the game for the rest of the first half. Miami missed their first nine shots to start the second quarter, which allowed the Hornets to open up a 12-point lead. Shortly after the Hornets built up their largest lead of the night, Dwyane Wade checked back into the game and quickly got the HEAT back on track.
Wade scored 10 of his 25 points in the second quarter after hitting five of his six shots from the field. With Wade leading the charge, the HEAT trailed by just two points at halftime. Miami’s run would continue into the third quarter, as the Hornets went cold to start the second half – shooting just 26 percent from the field (6-of-23).
In the fourth quarter, the Hornets were scoring with a balanced attack that featured seven players recording at least two points. After being held scoreless through the first three quarters, Nicolas Batum hit two huge three-pointers to give the Hornets an 80-78 lead. Batum returned to the lineup for Charlotte after missing the past two games with an ankle injury. He struggled for much of the game before knocking down those two shots late.
Charlotte returned to form on Wednesday night, as they converted on 12-of-24 shots as a team from three-point range. Their 12 three-pointers were the most in any game this series, and were twice as many as their previous high set in Game 1. The Hornets entered this series averaging 10.6 three-point makes per game during the regular season.
The Hornets were able to pull out the win despite a subpar game from Kemba Walker. He has led the Hornets in scoring this series with 24.8 points per game, but scored just 14 points Wednesday on just 4-of-18 shooting from the field. Marvin Williams paced the Hornets with 17 points and eight rebounds, while Al Jefferson added 14 and Jeremy Lin had 11 off of the bench.
All five of the HEAT starters scored in double figures with Wade leading the team in scoring with 25. Luol Deng scored 16 points, Joe Johnson had 13 and Hassan Whiteside recorded 11 points, 12 rebounds and three blocks. Josh Richardson gave the HEAT a huge boost, scoring six of his eight points in the third quarter.
Miami will now head into Game 6 on Friday with their season on the line. Many projected the HEAT would take care of the Hornets in this series, but they now face elimination in Charlotte (where they are 0-2 this series).
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