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HHH GameTime Preview: Heat Visit Charlotte

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Miami tries to hold down their playoff spot against Kemba Walker and the Hornets.

NBA: Charlotte Hornets at Miami Heat Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Tonight at 7PM, EST, the Hornets will host the Miami Heat at the Spectrum Center in Charlotte, North Carolina. This will be the fourth and final regular season meeting between the two clubs. Charlotte won the first, 97-91 on October 28th in Miami, and the second, 91-82 on December 29th in Charlotte. Miami earned a 108-101 win on March 8th in Miami.

In that last contest, Dion Waiters scored 24 points in 26 minutes, with five assists and three rebounds to led the Heat. Goran Dragic scored 22 with 10 assists and six boards, Luke Babbitt scored a dozen, and Hassan Whiteside had 10 points and 15 rebounds. Kemba Walker led the Hornets with 33 points, while Nicolas Batum scored 16, Marvin Williams had 14, and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist scored 12.

It came down to who wanted it more. - Waiters

Miami just concluded a two-game homestand with two losses, 98-94 to the New York Knicks on Friday and 116-113 to the Denver Nuggets on Sunday. Tonight’s contest is the first of a three-game roadtrip, Miami’s last of the regular season. After this, they’ll face the Toronto Raptors on Friday and the Washington Wizards on Saturday.

In Miami’s last game, the Heat lost, 116-113 to the Nuggets at the AmericanAirlines Arena. Goran Dragic led the Heat with 22 points with six assists. Hassan Whiteside had 16 points with 12 rebounds, Josh Richardson had 17 points, and Tyler Johnson came off the bench for 15 points. The Nuggets were led by 29 points from Danilo Gallinari, and 19 each from Wilson Chandler and Nikola Jokic, who also had 10 rebounds and seven helpers.

Our guys are laying it all out there. We just haven't been able to get the job done the last couple games. - Heat coach Erik Spoelstra

The Hornets just finished up a two-game roadtrip. They defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder, 113-101 on Sunday and lost to the Washington Wizards, 118-111 last night. After this, they’ll stay home to host the Boston Celtics on Saturday.

Last night, the Hornets dropped a 118-111 decision to the Wizards. John Wall led Washington with 23 poitns, 13 helpers and six steals. He was backed by 19 from Bradley Beal, 17 from Jason Smith, 15 from Kelly Oubre Jr., and 14 with six rebounds from Markieff Morris. Kemba Walker scored 37 points on 13-for-25 shooting, with five boards and four assists. Marco Belinelli dumped in 16, and Cody Zeller had 10 points and 10 rebounds.

It was all started with their defense, which is their game, and they converted it into easy baskets at the other end of the floor. They turned up the intensity and we had a couple of just ridiculous turnovers that changed the momentum of the game and that was the difference. - Hornets coach Steve Clifford

Gametime: 7:00 PM EST, Spectrum Center, Charlotte, NC.

All-Time Heat-to-Head: This is the 100th matchup between the Heat and the Hornets. Miami has a 58-41 edge in direct conflict with Charlotte, and their .586 winning percentage is their eighth-best record against an NBA foe.

numberFire.com says: Miami has a 53.9% chance of defeating the Hornets, with a projected Five Stars of Kemba Walker, Hassan Whiteside, Goran Dragic, Nicolas Batum, and James Johnson.

Standings

Miami: 37-40, .481, on pace for 40-42 season. Third in the Southeast Division, 1.5 games ahead of Charlotte. Ninth in the Eastern Conference, half a game behind the currently eighth-seeded Indiana Pacers. 17th in the NBA. Last Five: L-W-W-L-L. Playoff Odds: 44.5%

Charlotte: 36-42, .462, on pace for a 38-44 season. Fourth in the Southeast Division, nine games ahead of the Orlando Magic. 10th in the Eastern Conference, half a game ahead of the Detroit Pistons and two games behind the eighth- and seventh-seeded Pacers and Chicago Bulls, respectively. 19th in the NBA. Last Five: L-W-W-W-L. Playoff Odds: 26.1%

Probable Starters

Miami:
PG - Goran Dragic
SG - Rodney McGruder
SF - Josh Richardson
PF - Luke Babbitt (GTD)
C - Hassan Whiteside

Charlotte:
PG - Kemba Walker
SG - Nicolas Batum
SF - Michael Kidd-Gilchrist
PF - Marvin Williams
C - Cody Zeller