For the second game in as many nights, the Miami Heat struggled mightily in the third quarter and managed just 16 points. This time however, Miami stormed back in the closing moments of the game to snatch the 106-105 win against the Charlotte Hornets.
The Heat started the game well, easing fears that the team’s offense would cope with the absence of Goran Dragic and any residual effects from the dispiriting loss the previous night against the Brooklyn Nets. It was also the Heat’s third game in four days, but the re-emergence of James Johnson was desperately needed by the team missing their starting point guard. Wayne Ellington started in place of Dragic and went 6-10 from beyond the arc to finish with 26 points. Josh Richardson chipped in 17 points along with five assists, three rebounds and two blocks.
Charlotte went on a (what appeared to be) a decisive run in the third quarter to take control of the game, highlighted by eight consecutive points to take the lead at 69-67 with less than five minutes left. Ellington’s accuracy kept Miami within striking distance and their effort on both ends of the court wouldn't let the game get out of hand despite big games from both Kemba Walker (22 points, seven assists) and Nicolas Batum (26 points, six assists).
Walker would make it 101-91 with four minutes left in the game, but Ellington quickly responded with another 3-pointer. Even with all the heroics, Miami still faced a five-point deficit with a minute left and Johnson having just committed a turnover. In a matter of seconds, Johnson quickly got to the rim for a contested dunk followed by Richardson ripping the ball away from Batum and setting up JJ for a quick 3-pointer to tie the game.
Walker would fail to score for the Hornets and Dwight Howard got hit with a controversial foul call on a driving Kelly Olynyk with 0.2 seconds left.
The drama would reach its breaking point when Olynyk missed the first free throw but his 14th point scored in the final quarter was the difference in a stunner of a game.