NBA: Hornets sting Heat with gritty comeback

FILE–LaMelo Ball #1 of the Charlotte Hornets controls the ball during the first half against the Orlando Magic at Amway Center on November 14, 2022 in Orlando, Florida.

LaMelo Ball by Charlotte Hornets (Getty Images via AFP)

LOS ANGELES – The Poor Charlotte Hornets cool down the Miami Heat on Sunday, rallying for an NBA 122-117 win, ending Miami’s three-game winning streak.

The Heat are a rising team after a week that included an impressive win over the leaders of the Boston East Conference on Tuesday.

They led by 13 points in the third quarter, but the Hornets, leading with 31 points from Terry Rozier and 27 points from PJ Washington turned the tide.

“Obviously, they’re a good team and it’s tough to face,” said Charlotte coach Steve Clifford, whose team finished second in the East.

“And you have to have a lot of good players. We had a lot of good players. The boys off the bench, the starters. And we hang there. When we failed or when they ran away, we did some plays and again, hope (that) is something that we can promote.”

Jimmy Butler led the Heat with 28 points, taking 11 of 14 shots from the floor with 7 rebounds.

But the Heat’s defense fell short in the fourth quarter, as Charlotte’s LaMelo Ball scored 13 of his 19 points.

Washington gave the Hornets the lead in the third inning, making three three-pointers en route to picking up 15 points this time around.

“We didn’t defend, in the first half, the way we could,” said Heat coach Erik Spoelstra, who is still sixth in the East.

“And they went into a wonderful flow. We also played very well in attack, but it was a bit of a dangerous game.

“Because they are a team of scammers. They’ve had a lot of injuries, but when they’re fit, this team can score.”

After allowing the Hornets to gain confidence and find the offensive rhythm, Spoelstra said that in the second half “we didn’t strengthen the defense”.


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