The Charlotte Hornets grabbed their second straight victory as Kemba Walker and Nicolas Batum led the way against the Miami Heat.
The Charlotte Hornets (19-14) were able to defeat the Miami Heat (10-23) as they picked up a big win over their divisional rivals. A great second half effort coupled with Kemba Walker and Nicolas Batum’s stellar play helped the Hornets grab an important home victory. The team has now won five of their last six in total as they are ending 2016 on a high note.
Charlotte was once again without Marco Belinelli who missed his third consecutive game with a left ankle sprain. Jeremy Lamb stepped up once again in his place by scoring 10 points off of the bench. Cody Zeller, who dislocated his finger in their last outing, played and didn’t show any signs of pain throughout. He recorded nine points and seven rebounds despite the heavily taped finger.
The hornets trailed 58-56 with 5:10 left in the third quarter but an 11-0 run pushed them into the lead and they never looked back. After that stretch, Charlotte never relinquished the lead. They ended up outscoring the Heat 31-17 in the period and the home team forced Miami into six turnovers in the third. The Heat made it close down the stretch of the fourth but the third quarter push was enough to help Charlotte hold onto the lead.
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Who Stepped Up
Kemba Walker led the Hornets with a game-high 22 points to go along with seven rebounds and four assists. Nicolas Batum is making getting a near triple-double a regular occurrence as he recorded 16 points, 13 rebounds, and eight assists on the night. Marvin Williams stepped up his scoring output a bit with 13 points in this one.
Ramon Sessions added nine points off the bench while Frank Kaminsky continued to struggle by only scoring four points on 1-11 shooting from the field.
The Heat were led by Josh Richardson who scored a team-high 20 points. Tyler Johnson chipped in with 18 points, seven rebounds, and five assists. Wayne Ellington scored 12 points with the second unit and Charlotte limited Hassan Whiteside to only eight points and 10 rebounds as he was almost a non-factor.
Highlight of the Game:
Big slam from @CodyZeller!!! ? #MIAatCHA #BuzzCity pic.twitter.com/n0hcXflo7X
— Charlotte Hornets (@hornets) December 30, 2016
Too many highlights to pick just one. Here’s a monster dunk from Marvin. Frank’s putback dunk. And Kemba’s moves. Don’t forget Walker’s dagger three.
Tweet of the Game:
LET EM KNOW @KembaWalker!!!!#BuzzCity #NBAVote pic.twitter.com/2KlbBZMwmB
— FOX Sports: Hornets (@HornetsOnFSSE) December 30, 2016
- Kemba scored his 7,000th point in this one.
- Walker recorded his 22nd 20+ point game of the season (5th best in the East).
- All of Lamb’s 10 points came in the second half.
- Batum recorded his 10th double-double of the season.
- This was the Hornets fourth sellout of the year and third straight.
With the win, the Hornets improved to 2-0 on the season over the Heat. They will have two more meeting later this year and Charlotte is the likely favorites to sweep the season series at this point. They have now won three straight regular-season games against Miami dating back to last year.
In their next game, the Charlotte Hornets will host the defending World Champions in the Cleveland Cavaliers. Even though they have lost the first two meetings this season against LeBron James and company, this is the first match in Charlotte. The Hornets have some momentum heading into this game as these two great teams should provide plenty of fireworks.