Heat Check: Miami comes through in closing seconds for big win
MIAMI -- In their most thrilling victory of the season, the Miami Heat outlasted the Charlotte Hornets in the closing seconds Sunday to come away with a 94-93 victory at home.
Charlotte had lost four straight but proved to be a worthy adversary after defeating Miami earlier this month. They had a second victory in their grasp Sunday night before letting it slip away late. The Heat stormed back at the midway point of the fourth quarter, led by Chris Bosh, Shabazz Napier and Mario Chalmers down the stretch to avoid losing their fourth consecutive home game.
Luol Deng paced the Heat with 19 points in the first half before finishing with a team-leading 26 points to go with eight rebounds. Napier again was strong off the bench in the absence of the injured Norris Cole and contributed 14 points, 11 coming in the second half. Bosh shook off early struggles for his second straight double-double with 20 points and 10 rebounds.
Miami held the lead at halftime but came out flat and was outscored 28-14 in the third quarter after putting up 30 points in the second. Al Jefferson once again had a big game against the Heat with 22 points and 12 rebounds. Five Hornets players finished with double figures in points, with Lance Stephenson (17 points, six rebounds, five assists) and Kemba Walker (16 points, seven rebounds, four assists) strong in the second half.
In a furious scramble during crunch time and with the lead changing hands, Bosh gave the Heat the lead for good with a jump shot over Cody Zeller with 31 seconds left. Walker missed a field goal and then appeared to try to foul Chalmers to stop the clock but instead was able to steal the ball back. Walker's final shot attempt and a missed Jefferson tip-in rimmed out in the final seconds.
THE TURNING POINT
Bosh's 3-pointer with six minutes left in the game jump-started the Heat rally. Napier's steal on the Hornets next possession netted him two free throws to cut the deficit to two. An unforced Hornets turnover later and a 3-pointer by Napier gave the Heat their first lead of the fourth quarter after being down by as many as eight.
THE DIFFERENCE MAKER
Chalmers came through big time in the final quarter with 12 fourth-quarter points to finish with 20 to go with 10 assists.
STAT OF THE GAME
Heat were hot from long range early, going 6 of 9 from 3-point territory in the first half. They added five more in the second half, including three crucial ones in the final quarter.
The Heat take on the Golden State Warriors at home Tuesday at 7:30 p.m.