Court Vision: Hornets snap long losing streak to Miami
Going inside the Hornets’ 96-89 win over the Heat Wednesday night.
1. With Charlotte in desperate need of a win, it relied on the same person that carried the team to the playoffs a season ago in Al Jefferson.
While others around him struggled to get the ball in the basket, it was Jefferson that calmly made basket after basket, especially when they were needed the most, to help lead the Hornets (2-3) to victory at Time Warner Cable Arena.
Jefferson, who was Third Team All-NBA last season, had a game-high 28 points, to go along with 10 rebounds, five of which were offensive. He also had three blocks and an assist for good measure.
"Of all the guys out there today, I feel like I had an advantage pretty much throughout the whole game," he said.
With the Heat making a charge midway through the fourth quarter, Jefferson hit back-to-back shots to push it back up to 12 to give Charlotte the breathing room it needed.
"We did a good job of getting him the ball," Hornets coach Steve Clifford said
2. For the first time this season, first-round draft choice P.J. Hairston played meaningful minutes and contributed to the team’s win.
Hairston, who was drafted with great expectations of providing much needed outside shooting, did just that as he drained a pair of three-pointers in the second half, both of which brought an enormous cheer from crowd.
The first one, which was also his first made shot this season from beyond the arc, came from the left wing with 2:34 left in the third quarter to give Charlotte a seven-point lead. It also drew a big fist pump from Hairston.
His second came within the first minute of the fourth quarter from the top of the circle, which gave the Hornets an 11-point advantage.
Hairston finished with seven points on 2-of-9 shooting, including 2-for-8 from 3-point range. And while his shooting wasn’t necessarily good, after he made that first deep basket, there was no hesitation in his shot, which had been noticeable prior to that.
"What I liked about him last night and tonight is that it’s obvious he wants to be out there," Clifford said.
3. Heat forward Josh McRoberts, who was a very integral part of the playoff run for the Bobcats last season, returned to Charlotte for the first time since joining Miami during the offseason as a free agent.
As a member of the Bobcats, he was considered the oar of the offense. When he was on the court, the offense flowed much smoother and ball moved with greater ease. Often times while he rested on the bench, the offense would become stagnant.
He was a big favorite of Clifford’s.
But in a somewhat unexpected turn, when he was announced and every time he touched the ball, McRoberts was booed by the crowed. It’s a little surprising since he was a crowd favorite and resurrected his career with the then Bobcats. Moreover, the move was precipitated by the fact that Miami offered more money.
McRoberts, who was a starter in Charlotte, came off the bench for the Heat. He wound up playing just under eight minutes, while scoring two points and grabbing one rebound.
â¢ 20 — After losing to Miami 20 straight times, the Hornets finally prevailed and got a win. It’s the first time Kemba Walker or Gerald Henderson have ever beaten the Heat. Of course, this is the first time Miami has played without LeBron James during that streak, too.
â¢ 13 & 20 — The Hornets grabbed 13 offensive rebounds, which led to a season-high 20 second chance points. Conversely, Miami only had six offensive boards and seven second chance points.
"This is really the most shots I’ve ever missed since I’ve been playing basketball. I’ve just got to keep shooting and the shots will fall," said Hornets guard Lance Stephenson, who is just 12-of-45 (26.67 percent) from the field this young season.
Follow Brett Jensen on Twitter at @BrettJensenFOX