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HHH GameTime Preview: Miami Heat continue road trip against Charlotte Hornets

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The Heat try to put some distance between themselves and the rest of the Southeast Division with a road match against the Charlotte Hornets tonight.

Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

Tonight at 7PM, the Miami Heat will take on the Charlotte Hornets on the road at Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte, NC. This is the third of four games this season between the two. Miami defeated them at home on opening night 104-94, and Charlotte won in their house, 99-81 on December 9th. They'll meet for the final time in the regular season on March 17th in Miami.

The Heat is finishing up a three-game road-trip, and their 14th road game in their last 16 contests. On their current trip, they lost to the Houston Rockets, 115-102 on Tuesday night, and defeated the Dallas Mavericks, 93-90 on Wednesday. They'll head home to take on the Los Angeles Clippers on Sunday and the San Antonio Spurs on Tuesday.

For the Hornets, this is the second game of a four-game homestand. They started with a 106-97 win over the defending Eastern Conference Champion Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday, and will host the Washington Wizards on Saturday and the Chicago Bulls on Monday.

The last time these two teams fought it out was on December 9th earlier this season. Kemba Walker and Marvin Williams each had 18 points to lead the Hornets to a 99-81 victory, helped by Nicolas Batum's triple-double of 10 points, 11 boards, and 11 helpers. Tyler Johnson scored a game-high 20 points off the bench for the Heat, but nobody else really stood out for the good guys.

They were the more aggressive team and they jumped us in the beginning. We were never able to corral any kind of momentum in the game. You have to credit them for an aggressive game. For us, it was a very sloppy game. - Heat coach Erik Spoelstra

Check out At The Hive for more on Charlotte.

The last time Miami was in action was Wednesday night, in a 93-90 win over the Mavericks. Chris Bosh led Miami with 20 points, Dwyane Wade had 18 points with eight rebounds, Luol Deng scored 15 with five boards, and Hassan Whiteside scored 10 points with nine rebounds and five blocked shots in just 17 minutes. Dirk Nowitzki led the Mavs with 28 points, and Zaza Pachulia scored 10 with 15 rebounds.

We talked about it and said why not. We will see what he looks like in the second quarter and we will go from there. - Spoelstra, on Whiteside's return

Mavs Moneyball has more on Dallas.

On Wednesday, the Hornets defeated the Cavaliers, 106-97 behind a 24 point, eight assist effort from Jeremy Lin off the bench. Marvin Williams scored 16, and Frank Kamisky sunk seven-of-eight from the field for 15 points. Micheal Kidd-Gilchrist scored 11 points and 13 rebounds. Kyrie Irving led the Cavs with 26 points and five assists, and Lebron James scored 23 with six rebounds and six helpers in defeat.

Kemba, honestly, is irreplaceable. We all know that, (but) we feel like if everyone can chip in a little bit, we can try to make up for his absence. - Lin, on playing without leading scorer Kemba Walker

Fear the Sword has more on the Cavs.

GameTime: 7PM, FS-SUN

All-Time Head-to-Head: Miami's 56-38 all-time record against the Hornets stands as their sixth-best record against another team.

Standings

Miami Heat: 28-22, .560, on pace for 46-36. Second in the Southeast Division, sixth in the Eastern Conference, 11th in the NBA. Last Five: W-W-W-L-W. Playoff Odds: 80.4%

Charlotte Hornets: 24-25, .490, on pace for 40-42. Third in the Southeast Division, ninth in the Eastern Conference, 16th in the NBA. Last Five: W-L-L-W-W. Playoff Odds: 55.4%

Injuries

Miami Heat: Chris Andersen (knee) should be back sometime next week. Tyler Johnson (shoulder), however, should return around the beginning of April.

Charlotte Hornets: Kemba Walker (knee) is a game-time decision, and Al Jefferson (knee) may return in about two weeks.

Probable Starting Lineups / Primary Backups

Miami Heat
PG - Goran Dragic / Beno Udrih
SG - Dwyane Wade / Gerald Green
C - Hassan Whiteside / Amar'e Stoudemire
SF - Luol Deng / Justise Winslow
PF - Chris Bosh / Josh McRoberts

Charlotte Hornets
PG - Jeremy Lin / Brian Roberts
SG - Nicolas Batum / Troy Daniels
C - Cody Zeller / Spencer Hawes
SF - PJ Hairston / Michael Kidd-Gilchrist
PF - Marvin Williams / Frank Kaminsky

Milestones

Chris Bosh's start tonight will pull him into a tie for 11th all-time in total appearances with Joel Anthony, with 382. With three more triples, he will tie Ray Allen in 14th all-time with 255.

Udonis Haslem is still tied for ninth all-time with Eddie Jones with 246 blocked shots.

Dwyane Wade needs to score more than 22 points to overtake John Stockton into 41st all-NBA all-time. Stockton scored 19,711 over his 19 NBA seasons.

If you have a minute and like Heat gear, check out Fan Essentials, over here. It's a company that started out boxing up Memphis Grizzlies gear and are now expanding into our market. You spend $35 and receive $145 worth of Heat gear when you order, all boxed-up-like. We aren't talking about stuff that you can find anywhere either. This group works with local vendors to produce unique, custom Heat products such as artwork, decor, and apparel. I feel inclined to tell you that they aren't paying me to say this, I just love the idea.

Check back here at HHH for the GameThread, just before the opening tip.