While it may seem cliche to label all playoff games as a "must-win", the difference between the Miami Heat taking an unsurmountable 3-0 series lead and the Charlotte Hornets defending their home court to make it 2-1 is huge.
Though it may seem unsustainable, the Heat's torrid shooting through the first two games of the series isn't just luck; it's a result of purposeful ball movement and a solid game plan, among other factors. The loss of Nicolas Batum to injury is a huge blow to Charlotte, though Kemba Walker remains their most dangerous weapon. The question for coach Steve Clifford is to go small or big when it comes down to who to replace Batum in the starting lineup.
Should Miami enjoy continued strong games from Luol Deng and Hassan Whiteside to compliment the backcourt of Dwyane Wade and Goran Dragic, they should be able to take care of business on the road -- even though the team has been wildly inconsistent on the road lately.
Miami Heat @ Charlotte Hornets
Game 3: Eastern Conference Playoffs First Round
5:30 PM EST
TV: TNT, Fox Sports Sun / Radio: 790
Miami: Chris Bosh (blood clot) OUT, Tyler Johnson (shoulder) OUT
Charlotte: Nicolas Batum (left foot strain) OUT
|Kemba Walker||PG||Goran Dragic|
|Courtney Lee||SG||Dwyane Wade|
|Marvin Williams||SF||Joe Johnson|
|Frank Kaminsky||PF||Luol Deng|
|Cody Zeller||C||Hassan Whiteside|