Hornets finish off Miami in preseason finale

Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE

The Heat treated their last preseason game as more of a dress rehearsal than a preseason matchup, playing the starters regular minutes and shortening the rotation.

In the final preseason game before the event that will be the season opener vs. Boston on Oct. 30, human nature's inclination is to overlook a meaningless contest.

But head coach Erik Spoelstra shortened his rotation and played his stars extended minutes as the Heat took a loss to the New Orelans Hornets 96-89.

Heat players will receive rings for their accomplishment last July on Tuesday, but first had to run the floor with Anthony Davis and the Hornets to end it's preseason.

Davis was spectacular, picking up 24 points in 11-of-18 shooting, nabbing 11 rebounds, three steals and a block in process.

It isn't rare for teams to treat the last preseason game as a dress rehearsal, but it probably makes for the least fun of the entire season. It's the ultimate drag and tease. The last game before opening the season at a time where every team, except probably the Charlotte Bobcats, is optimistic.

But the game was an entertaining one, which saw an eventful fourth quarter as the game was tied at 84 before the Hornets went on a run and finished off Miami, who was playing without LeBron James down the stretch. The Hornets also lost Austin Rivers to an ankle injury earlier in the game.

Chris Bosh led the Heat in scoring and rebounding with 21 points and 10 rebounds. James scored 19 and Wade dropped 15. They played 34,32, and 28 minutes, respectively.

Greivis Vasquez was the second best player on the court for the Hornets, leading them with 42 minutes and scoring 17 points.

The preseason has to be considered a success, if only because they got six games from Dwyane Wade and he seems to be ready to start the season after successful off season knee surgery. The Heat has also got Mario Chalmers and Udonis Haslem back in the rotation the last two games after they missed time with leg issues. And as expected, Chris Bosh and LeBron James have been consistently great for the Heat.

NOTES

* Spoelstra didn't play Garrett Temple or Terrel Harris in the game, suggesting that either the decision is already made, or they are deciding but have seen enough and prioritized playing it's regular rotation in the finale. Temple would give the Heat a third point guard, while Harris would be a hold-over emergency wing on it's bench.

* Rashard Lewis came into the game for Shane Battier in the first quarter, not Udonis Haslem. This could be the matchup,or Spoelstra just wanting to see Lewis out there with that group, but it also could be that the Heat will value spacing over the rebounding and defense that Haslem provides. Lewis played 26 minutes to Haslem's 14, and much of Haslem's time was spent being Bosh's backup at center.

* Mike Miller looks healthy. Made three-of-five 3-pointers and snatched nine boards in the game, and didn't show the tentativeness he sometimes displayed in his first two years with the Heat in terms of letting shots go. This is tremendous for the teams wing depth.

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