Miami Heat at Charlotte Hornets game preview
The NBA’s admission of a blown call won’t do much to console the Miami Heat after their latest loss. It might be tough for them to feel better on the road against one of the NBA’s hottest teams.
The Heat are left trying to avoid their first losing streak Wednesday night against a Charlotte Hornets team in search of their eighth win in 10 games.
Miami (12-7) had a chance at a third straight win when it closed a four-game homestand Monday against Washington, but a late no-call proved costly and the Wizards cruised thereafter to a 114-103 victory.
The league said Tuesday that Bradley Beal’s 3-pointer that extended Washington’s lead to 108-103 with 1:07 left shouldn’t have counted due to an uncalled traveling violation. But before the NBA’s announcement, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra pointed to the rest of the game as concerning.
Miami shot a season-best 59.4 percent but failed to contain Washington’s five-guard lineup late. The Wizards shot 50 percent – the second Heat opponent to reach that number, -and Miami committed nine of its 17 turnovers in the fourth quarter.
"I was more focused on things we could have done better to get ourselves in a better position to win going down the stretch," Spoelstra said. "Were we happy about that call? No. I don’t want to leave it to that call to be the reason why."
The Heat lost for the first time ever when shooting at least 59 percent, and no other team had done so since Atlanta fell at New York on Dec. 14, 2013.
Miami joins Golden State and San Antonio as the only teams yet to lose back-to-back games. The Heat have opened the season with 14 of 19 games at home but play four of their next five on the road, where they are 2-3. Dwyane Wade averaged 25.8 points on the Heat’s homestand but has averaged 9.3 and shot 29.3 percent in the last three road games.
Their first road game in 12 days comes against a team it has beaten in 19 of the past 21 meetings, but the losses have come in their two visits to Charlotte since losing LeBron James. The Hornets did lose 104-94 at Miami in their season opener, but they haven’t lost much lately.
Charlotte (12-8) has won seven of nine games with the only defeats coming to conference leaders Golden State and Cleveland. The Hornets have won their last two without center Al Jefferson, who will miss 1-2 more weeks with a strained calf.
Starting at center in place of Jefferson, Cody Zeller finished one point off his career high with 20 in Monday’s 104-84 rout of a Detroit team which had won four straight. Kemba Walker played through an illness to add 14 points and nine rebounds, and Nicolas Batum chipped in 13 points, eight assists and seven boards.
The Hornets entered the game in the bottom third in the league in rebounding margin (minus-2.2) and boards per game (43.5), but they pulled down a season-high 57 to Detroit’s 41 – even without Jefferson.
"It has to become who we are," coach Steve Clifford said. "It has to be an every-night thing. If it is we have the chance to be the team that we think we can be."
Charlotte improved to 9-3 at home and 10-0 when scoring at least 100 points.
Luol Deng was a full participant at Miami’s practice Tuesday. The 12-year veteran has missed the last six games with a strained left hamstring.