The Hornets started out strong, immediately going on a 7-0. Miami wouldn’t be pushed around very long though with Kendrick Nunn, Jimmy Butler and Bam all going to work and scoring some great buckets. They would go on a 7-0 run of their own to take the lead. The Hornets would battle back with both teams going bucket for bucket for a small stretch.
One thing noticeable early on was how assertive Jimmy Butler was offensively (he had 10 points in the first quarter). Despite often acting as a facilitator Jimmy drove the lane fearlessly to keep Miami ahead.
The Heat found their groove towards the end of the quarter with Dragic, Robinson and Herro all getting involved. Herro had his whole arsenal on display as he drained jumpers and drove the lane. The Hornets would show some fight towards the end of the quarter, but Miami would escape into the second quarter up five.
Goran Dragic would get the second quarter started with a beautiful reverse layup, and the Heat wouldn’t let up showcasing their ball movement once again. Their unselfishness would convert into multiple threes.
Kelly Olynyk looked great contributing on both ends and showing why he can be such a threat on the offensive end as he scored multiple treys (he was on fire). Olynyk was patient, making the right decision every time he got the ball. He was also a beast on the glass tonight.
Despite scoring well, the Heat were weak on the defensive ends letting the Hornets hang around (the Hornets were shooting 54% from the field). Things would change quickly though.
The Heat’s offense started to surge as they went on 12-3 run. The Heat capitalized on Charlotte’s turnovers, and their non-existent wing defense as they drilled three after three. The Hornets would fight back and go on a 12-5 run, but Miami kept enough pressure on the gas to escape into the second half up eleven.
Kendrick Nunn would get things rolling for the Heat to start the third. It’s been widely reported, so it’s hardly a surprise when I say Nunn has been a force this season for the Heat. It’s easy to forget how bad the Heat were last year when they couldn’t score, Nunn’s ability to get hot and score in streaks is a huge advantage.
Despite Charlotte’s best effort, the Heat did not relinquish control. In fact, their decision making and patience resulted in a few highlight reel plays. Miami’s defense improved steadily throughout the quarter as Charlotte’s field goal percentage started to drop. While there were a few questionable foul calls, the Heat’s aggressiveness was evident and effective.
Jimmy Butler continued to play an incredibly well rounded game of basketball, as he scored at will and got as many teammates involved as possible. Jimmy had 21 points, 6 assists, 3 rebounds, 1 block and 1 steal at the end of the third.
Miami would go cold from the field to end the third quarter, but they’d still take a 16 point lead into the fourth.
Tyler Herro continued his solid play as he worked to expand the Heat lead at the beginning of the fourth. Rozier and Charlotte wouldn’t go silently though, as they continued to make things difficult for the Heat on both ends.
Turnovers and questionable decisions on defense (Bam goaltend) caused things to get a little bit out of control so Jimmy re-entered the game around the 7:35 mark to help slow things down.
Bam Adebayo was huge for the Heat tonight on both ends. He is a clear MIP candidate who fills up the stat sheet every night in a winning way for his team. Bam always bring energy, and I don’t think I’ve seen him take a play off all season. His fourth quarter play acted as a dagger as he pretty much had a dunk contest on the Charlotte defense while Miami ran up the score. He’d end the game with 21 points, 15 rebounds, 5 assists and 1 block.
The Heat would win the game by 17 to remain unbeaten at home in what was an impressive team victory.