Erik Spoelstra rested Goran Dragic for second game in a row, and let Dion Waiters run the show, along with Josh Richardson as the other ball handler. Miami Heat had Rodney McGruder and Kelly Olynyk on the wings, with Hassan Whiteside at center to round out the starting five.
Heat started on fire for an early 18-11 lead on the way to making their first four 3-point attempts and 10 of 12 overall. By the end of the first quarter they scored 36 points for a 7-point lead, 36-29. In the second quarter Miami managed to bump the lead up to 45 to 34 at one point, but then the Charlotte Hornets answered with 15 unanswered points for a 49-45 lead.
The porous defense of the first quarter got worse and allowed 33 points in the second quarter, while the offense slowed to generate only 18 points in the quarter. Noticeably Miami made only 1 out of 10 3-pointers after their first 4 makes. Overall field goal successes dropped to 13 out of 31 attempts after the hot beginning. In the first half the Heat had some highlights, including a dunk by Dion Waiters.
We can't forget the Brothers Johnson at work either.
After the half Miami fell further behind 58-68, but clawed back with a 9-point run to close within 67-68. The game stayed tight until the third quarter ended at 85-89, in favor of the Hornets. The 16 turnovers after 3 quarters (20 for the entire game) plagued Miami, and marred the otherwise stellar show on offense from the team.
The Heat pulled a victory out in the last quarter for a satisfying 109-106 win, marked by 7 players scoring at least 8 points, lead again by 18 points each from Tyler Johnson and Richardson. J. Rich and Justise Winslow sealed the deal with nifty moves at the end of the game.
J. Rich puts Miami ahead in the 4th quarter! pic.twitter.com/SfrGDBjVpQ— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) October 10, 2017
The Heat have 2 wins and 2 losses so far, with 2 preseason games remaining. The scores don't matter, but finalizing the 15-man roster and the rotations does. Dragic, Whiteside and Waiters seem set as starters for opening night. The other two spots present a good problem for Erik Spoelstra to have, with at least 5 viable candidates for the positions, if you include Tyler Johnson. After four games, the picture of who does what on the team, is becoming clearer for the start of action next week.
Miami next hosts the Washington Wizards at the AmericanAirlines Arena on Wednesday, October 11 at 7:30pm.