The home stand to try and save the season kicks off with a 105-100 win over the Charlotte Hornets, a team that’s probably now finally out of the playoff race, while the Miami Heat get new life breathes into their desperate bid.
Before the game Goran Dragic said this one feels like a game 7 (not that Dragic has too much playoff experience to know about game 7’s). He played like it was the only thing for him, scoring 28 points and sparking the 21-2 run for the Heat in the third quarter that turned the game around, as the Hornets, despite playing without Al Jefferson, looked very comfortable in the early goings of the game.
Dwyane Wade scored 19 points but made just 6-of-17 from the field, turning the ball over 7 times. It’s quite evident that the effort he’s been putting in since Chris Bosh went down with an injury has taken a serious toll on his body and especially his knees, but the Heat, at this point of the season and with their playoff hopes in jeopardy, don’t have the luxury of letting him rest.
Luol Deng scored 21 points and Hassan Whiteside finished with 12, struggling with foul trouble which forced him off the floor for more than half the game. Gerald Henderson led the Hornets with 29 points, followed by Kemba Walker with 17 points and Mo Williams coming off the bench to score 17 points, but shooting just 5-of-17 from the field.
With the win, the Heat are still ninth in the East, but only 0.5 games behind the Celtics. The Heat are 35-43 while Boston have played a game less and are at 35-42. The Hornets (33-44) are two games below the Celtics with the Pacers and Heat between them, which explains the lack of optimism coming from almost everyone on the team speaking to the media.
On the losing side, there’s a feeling of doom and gloom. When the Bobcats made the playoffs in 2010, it turned into a one-time achievement. Next season they missed the playoffs and everything crumbled into a long period of rebuilding and tanking, until last season. This is a talented team, hopefully not falling into the same routine once again. Besides Jefferson the Hornets missed Tyler Zeller and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist.
Tonight was a big game. We’ve played all the teams that are in the mix there with us and we lost to them all. It’s never good. Like most teams, we had a busy March. We played 17 games in 30 days and he (Jefferson) didn’t want to sit out. So I think it just progressively got worse. Now he’s trying to rest it and see if he can go maybe this weekend.