In what could be one of the most painful losses of the season, the Charlotte Hornets fell to the Miami Heat in double overtime 111-107. 60 games through the season, Charlotte has lost 9 out of its last 10 games – limping into the all-star break with a 29-31 record after being 28-22.
This game started with both teams’ offenses playing well, but after the first quarter it was a defensive slugfest. Both teams shot 40% from the floor and under 30% from three. After being down seven, the Hornets would hold Miami to 10 points in the second quarter and rallied to take a seven point lead at halftime largely due to four second quarter threes by Kelly Oubre.
The pace of the game continued to slow down in the third quarter largely due to LaMelo Ball picking up his fourth foul. The fourth quarter started off well with Montrezl Harrell scoring seven straight points, pushing their lead to 78-64 with 9:16 in the fourth quarter. Once again, the Hornets had a double-digit lead in the fourth quarter, but let a team back in the game.
Down the stretch Miami hit six straight shots while the Hornets’ offense bogged down. There was little ball movement down the stretch and the Hornets went away from the LaMelo/Harrell pick-n-roll which had some success. Down two, LaMelo was able to drive to the basket and find Montrez to tie the game and send it to overtime.
What happened next, in overtime, was egregious. Kyle Lowy hit a step back jumper that was clearly a two on replay, but ruled a three on the floor. The refs never stopped the game to look at it because too much time had gone by. It was Lowry’s 7th straight point. Despite this Harrell had two free throws to win the game, but missed the second and the game went into double overtime.
In the double overtime both teams struggled to gain separation, but the game turned when LaMelo Ball was called for a loose ball foul on a play where there was minimal contact at best – except when LaMelo and Jimmy Butler dived on the floor for the loose ball. After that play Butler hit two big shots after previously shooting 3-22 from the floor.
With the win Miami goes into the All-Star break tied for first place in the East while the Hornets are in a virtual tie with the Hawks for ninth. Here are some observations from this tough loss
Where was Terry:
In 36 minutes, Terry Rozier was 2-9 for only 5 points. That isn’t going to cut it.
Montrezl Shows his Impact:
Harrell played 43 minutes and was 9-16 for 24 points and eight rebounds. Harrell’s free throw to tie the game should’ve have been the game winner. Montrezl has been a great addition to this team. He brings toughness, a great roller on the pick n roll and leadership.
Late Game execution:
The Hornets had a 14-point lead in the fourth quarter and blew it. Late game offense has been a problem all season. There was little movement off the ball and lot of isolation basketball. I wish the Hornets used the Melo/Harrell pick-n-roll more. When the Hornets ran that play it was successful. Despite foul trouble LaMelo had 14 assists. I would like to see that pick-n-roll used more in late game situations. Charlotte is now 0-6 in overtime games this season.