The Miami Heat were down by two points at half-time against the Charlotte Hornets on Saturday night and facing yet another close game down the stretch and a potential shaky performance against a weak team. Instead they raced out to a dominant third quarter and took control of the game with an eventual 132-115 blowout victory to improve their record to 6-7 on a night that honored Hall of Fame point guard Tim Hardaway.
Miami nailed their first 11 shots in the third quarter, one in which they have struggled more often than they have flourished, to erase a slim 59-57 Hornets lead at the half. Charlotte had enjoyed an 18-7 run to close the second quarter and managed to slow down Miami’s momentum, in which the host team was generally playing well by forcing turnovers, getting Bam Adebayo involved early on offense and playmakers finding others with active on and off the ball movement.
Unfortunately they had little to show for it with Lamelo Ball making his season debut and immediately making his presence felt and giving Charlotte a completely different look despite it being the second straight time the two teams faced against each other.
All of that changed rather quickly as soon as the second half began, with the Heat building their largest lead of the game at 86-69 after making their first 11 shots of third quarter and never looking back. Miami wouldn’t miss a field goal until less than five minutes remained in the period and would go on to outscore Charlotte 45-25 for the entire third quarter.
Max Strus was unstoppable from deep on the way to 31 points (finishing 8 of 14 on 3-pointers), but Gabe Vincent (20 points off the bench) and Jimmy Butler (20 points, eight assists, seven rebounds) also made their fair share of impressive baskets while Adebayo (24 points, 15 rebounds) continued to wreck havoc inside and Kyle Lowry (12 points, 11 rebounds, eight assists) flirted with a triple-double.
20 piece for Nnamdi off the bench pic.twitter.com/xum2U9mYuE— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) November 13, 2022
Bam has been on a tear. 24 & 15 tonight pic.twitter.com/C0nIylOzWl— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) November 13, 2022
Charlotte managed to get as close to 11 points in the fourth quarter but they never appeared to be much of a threat to snap their seven-game losing streak. Quite frankly the final 90 seconds of the game were far more intriguing with the Heat briefly showcasing their impressive preseason form with Jamal Cain and Nikola Jovic making their first NBA three-pointers.
After so many tense, close games it was nice to see the Heat having fun and cruising to victory. They will next host the Phoenix Suns on Monday night.
Can confirm that even after all those down the wire games, blowout victories are still pretty fun— Naveen Ganglani (@naveenganglani) November 13, 2022