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Heat dominate fourth quarter, crush Hornets 144-115

Miami made a franchise-record 23 3-pointers.

Charlotte Hornets v Miami Heat Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Through three quarters, the Miami Heat and Charlotte Hornets both scored at will. Miami held just a 102-97 lead going into the fourth, and Heat fans grew frustrated at the Hornets’ ease with which they sliced the defense to score in the paint.

The fourth quarter was a different story. The Heat went into a zone defense that slowed Charlotte down, and Miami didn’t let up the blistering shooting. Miami won the fourth period 42-18 to turn a close game into a blowout, 144-115, and improve to 52-28 on the season.

Tyler Herro and Duncan Robinson led Miami from beyond the arc Tuesday night. Robinson made seven 3s, six of which came in the first half when the score was close, and Herro knocked down six 3s. The Heat made 23 3s on the night, a franchise record, with two-way player Mychal Mulder nailing down the last one.

Kyle Lowry and Dewayne Dedmon sat out this game, while Jimmy Butler and P.J. Tucker returned after missing Sunday’s game in Toronto. But in perhaps the one blemish from the night, Tucker suffered a right calf strain in the third quarter and did not return. With just two regular season games left, it may be wise for the Heat to rest Tucker, who turns 37 years old next month, until the playoffs.

Chris Quinn also served as the head coach for the Heat’s second straight game, as Erik Spoelstra remains in health and safety protocols. Aside from the shrewd move to go to the zone defense, Quinn also successfully challenged a call early in the fourth quarter that was initially ruled a Butler offensive foul. But the referees reversed that call into a blocking foul, and Butler got two free throws. It’s the type of move Spoelstra hasn’t made that often, and it paid off for Quinn.

As for Butler, the six-time All-Star put in a solid game. He finished with 27 points on 9-of-15 shooting from the field, including 7-of-8 from the foul line and 2-of-4 from downtown to go along with five rebounds, eight assists and two blocks. Butler scored from all three levels tonight — at the rim, in the mid-range and beyond the arc — something he’ll need to do in the playoffs. Over the course of this current five-game win streak, Butler seems to have found his jumper.

Bam Adebayo added 22 points on 7-of-10 shooting from the field and 8-of-9 shooting from the foul line, a much better performance from the stripe than his 4-for-9 night in Toronto Sunday. The Heat center also grabbed nine rebounds and came up with this nice block to erase a layup from Isaiah Thomas.

Caleb Martin and Max Strus both scored 12 points with Miami, each knocking down three 3s. One of Strus’ 3s came after his ball fake sent LaMelo Ball tumbling to the ground.

The Heat will host the Atlanta Hawks for the regular season finale on Friday night.