Miami’s offense fired well to start, but Charlotte wasn’t far behind. Still, Miami was dominant in the paint with most of their first-quarter points coming inside.
The Heat grew its lead by seven off some solid contributions from Dragic and Dedmon. The Dragon has had a knack for buzzer-beaters lately and finished the first quarter with a beautiful and one with just a couple of seconds left.
Dragic has had an up-and-down season, but he’s shown flashes lately of the player we know he is. Hopefully, we can ride those highs into the playoffs. Tonight he was noticeably aggressive erupting for 14 points in the first half.
LaMelo ball looked good in his second game back, slashing effortlessly to the rim for some easy buckets against the Heat.
Kendrick Nunn continued his exceptional play, playing aggressively on both ends.
The Heat defense struggled to guard the paint with Miles Bridges absolutely feasting on a buffet of dunks. Jimmy was also solid, using his body to create space as he slashed to the rim. He had a number of highlight plays, including a nice dunk over Biyombo. Max Strus even had a really nice dunk!
Terry Rozier scored as the first half came to a close, but Miami’s aggressive offensive play allowed them to take a 7 point lead into halftime.
The Hornets capitalized immediately to start the second half to cut the lead to two thanks to strong play by LaMelo Ball.
The Heat didn’t stay down with Jimmy, Bam, and Kendrick all going back at the Hornets on offense in succession.
Jimmy continued to be relentless, pounding the paint with intensity and erupting for multiple scores. When Jimmy is able to get within five feet of the rim and work in the post he has one of the smoothest strokes in the game. The Heat was solid from beyond the arc (over 50%) but really found success inside shooting 72.7%.
The Hornets attempted to get back, but it seemed as if every time they started to get momentum Dedmon would break their spirit on the other end. His addition has been invaluable for Miami, not only does he fight for rebounds, but by working in the inside he’s able to get to the line with ease.
With everything clicking for the Heat, they were able to mount a 20 point lead heading into the fourth.
The Heat did not let up in the fourth running away with the lead off points from Bam, Nunn and Strus. Goran conducted the offense, controlling the pace and making exceptional decisions while Kendrick Nunn erupted for some absolute spirit-crushing daggers.
Bam does this so consistently that it’s almost easy to gloss over, but he was phenomenal tonight. He had 20 points, 10 assists, and 7 rebounds. But remember when he wasn’t selected as an All-Star?
This was one of Miami’s most complete games of the season, and hopefully, a sign of things to come as Miami enters the most important stretch of the season. Just a great win, and one that propels them into the sixth seed.