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GAME PREVIEW: Heat visit Charlotte on first leg of back-to-back set of games

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After a disappointing loss at home, the short-handed Heat plays the Hornets aiming to win third straight on the road.

Portland Trail Blazers v Miami Heat Photo by Cliff Hawkins/Getty Images

The Miami Heat (13-14) visit the Charlotte Hornets (10-17) looking to get back on the winning track after squandering a late double-digit lead against the Portland Trail Blazers in Miami on Wednesday.

Game Information

When: Friday, December 15 at 7:00 p.m. ET

Where: Spectrum Center, Charlotte, NC

TV: Fox Sports Sun

Radio: WAXY 790AM, WAQI 710AM (Spanish)

Win probability: FiveThirtyEight gives Miami a 38% chance to win.

Probable Starters

HEAT: Goran Dragic, Dion Waiters, Josh Richardson, James Johnson, Kelly Olynyk

HORNETS: Kemba Walker, Nicholas Batum, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Marvin Williams, Dwight Howard

Injury (assignment) Report

HEAT: Rodney McGruder (out, tibia surgery), Okaro White (out, foot surgery), Hassan Whiteside (out, knee bone bruise), Justise Winslow (out, knee strain), A.J. Hammons (assignment, G-League), Derrick Walton Jr. (assignment, G-League), Matt Williams (assignment, G-League)

HORNETS: Cody Zeller (out, knee), Jeremy Lamb (probable, shin), Frank Kaminsky (probable, ankle), Nicolas Batum (probable, elbow), Marcus Paige (assignment, G- League), Mangok Mathiang (assignment, G- League)

Scouting Report

Charlotte is 2-8, and Miami 5-5 in their last 10 games. The Hornets are 8-6 at home, while the Heat is 8-7 on the road. Miami (3-2 within division) is the only divisional rival to defeat Charlotte this season (4-1 within division).

Two weeks ago when the Heat defeated the Hornets 105-100, Miami was without Whiteside, and Walker was out for Charlotte. Bam Adebayo and Winslow started in that game. Olynyk and James Johnson are expected to replace them as starters this time around.

Dragic leads the Heat in points per game (17.1) and assists (4.4), Richardson in steals (1.1), Whiteside in rebounds (12.7) and blocks (1.6). Olynyk averages 5.3 rebounds and 0.5 blocks per game. Walker leads the Hornets in points per game (22.1) and assists (6.0), Batum in steals (0.6), Howard in rebounds (12.4) and blocks (1.4).

Of note for the Hornets, in the last four games Kidd-Gilchrist is averaging 14.8 points while shooting 64.1 percent, and Howard has scored 20 or more points in each one, which is his longest streak of 20+ point games since 2014.

Coach Erik Spoelstra will try once again to win his 454th game as Miami’s head coach to tie Pat Riley for the most wins by a head coach in Heat franchise history.

After the game Miami returns home to face the Los Angeles Clippers (11-15) for their only visit to Miami on Saturday. That would conclude their season series: the Heat defeated the Clippers in Los Angeles, 104-101, on Nov 5th.

Richardson scored 27 points against the Hornets in their first meeting, and has been on the roll converting 19 of his last 39 3-point attempts (48.7%). James Johnson reached a career milestone versus the Trail Blazers, when he played his 500th game in the NBA.

So far this season Miami is on track to obliterate the team record of made 3-pointers as percentage of total points scored. In the championship season of 2012-13 three-pointers accounted for 25.5% of their total points, and in 2016-17 they accounted for a then team record 28.7% of all points scored. This season 35.7% of their points have come from beyond the arc.