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HEAT-Hornets Game 5 Recap

The Hornets won their third straight game against the HEAT, taking control of their series against Miami.

Cody Taylor

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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).

Cody Taylor is an NBA writer in his fourth season with Basketball Insiders, covering the NBA and NCAA out of Orlando and Miami.

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2018 NBA Draft Diary

#28 – Jacob Evans – Golden State Warriors

Jesse Blancarte

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With the 28th overall pick, the Golden State Warriors selected Cincinnati Junior Jacob Evans.

Evans represents a solid pick for nearly any NBA team. Evans fits in the mold of a potential 3-and-D role player. Evans improved in his time at Cincinnati, culminating in his junior year, where he scored 13 points and 4.7 rebounds per game. Evans spent three seasons at Cincinnati and rounded himself into a versatile two-way player who can bring a lot of value at the NBA level.

Evans is a very cognitive player, especially on the defensive end. He has a better grasp of his limitations than most players at this stage of their respective careers and is able to maximize his individual defensive ability within a team concept. Evans generally makes the right rotations, double-teams at the right times and funnels his opponents to where his teammates are when he cannot contain the ball-handler on his own. With the right coaching, he could become a valuable defensive wing in an NBA rotation sooner than some anticipate.

Additionally, Evans is more than just a shooter. He led his team in assists last season and has some skill as a playmaker. Evans will be more of a shooter and finisher in the NBA, but the ability to make the right pass, swing the ball when he isn’t open and take the ball off the dribble when necessary make him an intriguing prospect. This is especially true when you consider how valuable a player like Khris Middleton has become over the years, adding layers to his 3-and-D skill set each season.

The Warriors aren’t in need of an influx of talent but are happy to add Evans regardless.

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2018 NBA Draft Diary

#27 – Robert Williams III – Boston Celtics

With the 27th overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft, the Boston Celtics have selected Robert Williams III.

Ben Nadeau

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With the 27th overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft, the Boston Celtics have selected Robert Williams III.

Although there were early week rumors that the Celtics might try to trade up, they’ve ultimately elected to find a difference-maker at the end of the first round instead. For a team that nearly reached the NBA Finals despite debilitating injuries to Gordon Hayward and Kyrie Irving, Boston’s roster didn’t need a wholesale change on draft night. But at No. 27, they’ll be more than happy to leave with the mysterious-but-talented Williams.

Last year, Williams was viewed as a potential first-rounder before he returned to Texas A&M for his sophomore year. In 2017-18, Williams averaged 10.4 points and 9.2 rebounds on 63.2 percent from the field, fueling the Aggies to a 22-13 record. During this current pre-draft process, Williams looked poised to become a mid-first-round selection once again — but his stock faded as the big night got closer. In fact, Williams even decided to watch the draft with his family, even though he was a green room invitee.

His stock has undoubtedly dropped as of late, but this may end up being the steal of the draft — naturally, he dropped right into general manager Danny Ainge’s lap. Williams, 6-foot-10, is a freak athlete that’ll bring a new look to an already fearsome defensive unit in Boston. At A&M, Williams won back-to-back SEC Defensive Player of the Year honors and averaged 2.5 blocks per game. Of course, he’ll get the opportunity to learn from the hard-nosed Al Horford, a five-time All-Star and the defensive linchpin for Boston — a win-win situation for all.

Williams, 20, joins an extremely young core in Boston that also includes Jaylen Brown, Terry Rozier and Jayson Tatum, among others.

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2018 NBA Draft Diary

#26 – Landry Shamet – Philadelphia 76ers

The Philadelphia 76ers select Landry Shamet with the 26th overall pick.

Dennis Chambers

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With the 26th overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft, the Philadelphia 76ers select guard Landry Shamet of Wichita State.

Shamet, if he is able to fulfill his potential, should provide the Sixers with some much-needed shooting, as their rotation was noticeably starved for another deadeye sniper.

A career 43.7 percent three-point shooter, Shamet sank 44.2 percent of his shots from downtown last season, and he did so while firing nearly six attempts from deep a game. Sliding Shamet at the guard position alongside franchise point guard Ben Simmons allows for another weapon at Simmons’ disposal.

Standing at 6-foot-5 and 21 years old, Shamet has the size to play either guard spot in the NBA (especially given Philadelphia’s lengthy and versatile lineup). Along with his shooting ability, Shamet also led the American Athletic Conference with 166 assists last season. With Markelle Fultz still a question mark for Philadelphia, Shamet provides a secondary ball-handler and playmaker, whether in the starting lineup or in the reserve unit.

The first round of the 2018 NBA Draft was a whirlwind for the Sixers, and they ultimately land two guards of very separate varieties: an upside-laden athlete in Zhaire Smith, and a skillful “veteran” rookie whose skillset is established.

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