Wednesday, April 20, 2016
Charlotte Hornets guard Jeremy Lin (7) shoots the ball in front of Miami Heat forward Luol Deng (9) in game two of the first round of the NBA Playoffs during the fourth quarter at American Airlines Arena. The Heat won 115-103. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
(The Sports Xchange) – Shooting better than 55 percent for the second consecutive game, the Miami Heat defeated the Charlotte Hornets 115-103 in Game 2 of an Eastern Conference first-round series on Wednesday.
After a franchise playoff-best first half of shooting, the Heat held on in the second half to protect home-court advantage and go up 2-0 in the best-of-seven series, which continues with Game 3 on Saturday in Charlotte.
The Hornets cut an 18-point deficit in the third quarter to seven with under four minutes to play, but the Heat clamped down defensively and Dwyane Wade, who led Miami with 28 points and eight assists, hit two key baskets late.
Hassan Whiteside scored 17 points on 8-of-8 shooting from the field and Luol Deng had 16 points. They were two of five Heat players to finish in double figures as they shot 57.9 percent from the floor.
Whiteside added 13 rebounds and two blocks, and Goran Dragic pitched in 18 points and Josh Richardson scored 15.
While the Heat were 9 of 16 from 3-point range, the Hornets hit just 1 of 16 from beyond the arc.
Kemba Walker had a game-high 29 points and Al Jefferson scored 25 on 12-of-17 shooting from the floor for the Hornets.
Countering the success of Walker and Jefferson, Marvin Williams missed all 10 of his shots from the floor to finish scoreless.
Nicolas Batum had nine points and seven rebounds but left early in the fourth quarter with a sprained left ankle and did not return.
Miami took a 72-60 lead into halftime thanks to shooting a franchise playoff-best 74.4 percent from the field in the first half, including 7 of 10 on 3-pointers while converting its final 10 shots from the floor in the first half.
Dragic hit all three of his first-half 3-point attempts.
Jefferson, with 16 points in the second quarter, kept the Hornets in it with a flurry of baskets from the low post and mid-range, at one point converting eight of Charlotte’s last nine field goals made.
The Heat matched their Game 1 turnover total of six in the first quarter alone but shot 65 percent from the field in the quarter as the teams were tied at 29 through one.