#709 Charlotte Hornetsvs.#710 Miami Heat
Written by Chris Kubala
NBA: Friday, October 28, 2016, American Airlines Arena, Miami, Florida, 8 pm ET
Line: Miami -2; Over/Under: 198
It’s a Southeast Division matchup coming to you live from South Beach. The Charlotte Hornets are on the road as they clash with the Miami Heat Friday night. Both teams are coming off wins in their season openers. Charlotte took a 107-96 road win over the Bucks Wednesday night. Miami beat Orlando 109-96 on the road Wednesday in their opener. The Heat has a 57-39 advantage in the all-time regular season series between the teams. Miami has won 20 of the last 24 meetings but the teams split the series each of the last two years.
Charlotte finished tied with Atlanta and Miami in the Southeast Division last season as all three teams had identical 48-34 records. Division record proved to be the thorn in the side for the Hawks and Hornets as Miami ended up with the division crown and the #3 seed in the playoffs. Charlotte would love to pick up a division win early on, especially with the Heat already having pocketed one from their win over the Magic. The Hornets put together a solid defensive effort, leading by eight after one quarter and by 15 at the half. They kept Milwaukee at arm’s length the rest of the way while holding the Bucks to 42.4 percent shooting in the contest.
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist led the Hornets on the offensive end of the floor with 23 points and 14 rebounds. Big man Roy Hibbert was impressive in his debut with the team, collecting 15 points, nine rebounds and five blocks. Kemba Walker added 17 points plus eight assists, Marvin Williams collected a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds and Cody Zeller had 15 points off the bench. Charlotte won despite shooting 44.9 percent from the field including a 7 of 23 performance from three point range. The Hornets went 20 of 24 at the stripe while holding a 51-46 advantage on the glass in the victory. Charlotte recorded 10 blocks. Hibbert’s presence will be important against the Heat in the low block.
Coach Erik Spoelstra picked up his 400th win with the franchise as the Heat was victorious Wednesday night. The only other coach in Miami history with 400 wins in the legendary Hall of Famer Pat Riley. It wasn’t all easy for Spoelstra and the Heat, who trailed by four after the first quarter and by three at the half. Miami turned things around with a decisive third quarter. The Heat outscored the Magic 30-16 in the quarter to take an 11 point advantage and didn’t look back. Miami kept the Magic contained as they limited Orlando to just 38.6 percent shooting from the field. The Heat can win a fair amount of games with that kind of stingy defensive showing.
The Heat shot a solid 48.5 percent from the floor in the win despite a 4 of 16 shooting performance from long range. Miami controlled the glass by a 52-44 margin in the game. Hassan Whiteside led six Miami players in double figures with 18 points, 14 rebounds and four blocks. Goran Dragic had 16 points, six boards and six assists while Justise Winslow contributed 15 points and eight rebounds. Tyler Johnson added 15 points plus six rebounds off the bench while James Johnson (11 points) and Willie Reed (10 points) each added double figures off the pine. Each of the nine Heat players who saw action scored at least six points in the win. Ideally, Dion Waiters would contribute more than nine points on 4 of 13 shooting but for one night, that can be overlooked.
This will be an interesting clash in the low block between Whiteside, who has come on in the last season and change, and Hibbert, who has been a force for nearly a decade. Hibbert looked re-energized in the opener after some lean years production wise the last few seasons. Miami is still a rotation that is looking to try and sort out their roles. Charlotte has a pretty established pecking order and can get production from a variety of players. I like the Hornets’ chances here as this isn’t a Miami team with LeBron, D-Wade and Chris Bosh. Take the points and Charlotte in this one.
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Christopher Kubala has been crunching stats and following sports for over 30 years. His in depth analysis and passion for sports have led him to writing books about sports, regularly being featured on sports talk radio and as the go-to person for any obscure trivia. He keeps an eye on transactions and statistics like a hawk, especially when it comes to football, both the NFL and college, the NHL, the NBA and college basketball and MLB.