Accurate shooting turns up the Heat as Hornets wilt

MIAMI • Shooting better than 55 per cent for the second consecutive game, the Miami Heat beat the Charlotte Hornets 115-103 in Game 2 of their Eastern Conference first-round series on Wednesday.

After a franchise play-off-best first half of shooting, the Heat held on in the second half to protect the home-court advantage and go up 2-0 in the best-of-seven series, which continues with Game 3 in Charlotte tomorrow.

The Hornets cut an 18-point deficit in the third quarter to seven with under four minutes to play, but the Heat clamped down defensively and Dwyane Wade, who led Miami with 28 points, hit two key baskets late in the game.

"I'm an aggressive player, so I'm always going to put pressure on the basket. That's what I do, and I got a couple of things to go for me," Wade said.

Hassan Whiteside scored 17 points on 8-of-8 shooting from the field and Luol Deng had 16 points. They were two of five Heat players to finish in double figures as they shot 57.9 per cent from the floor.

Whiteside added 13 rebounds and two blocks, and Goran Dragic pitched in with 18 points while Josh Richardson scored 15.

While the Heat were nine of 16 from three-point range, the Hornets hit just one of 16 from beyond the arc.

Kemba Walker had a game-high 29 points and Al Jefferson scored 25 on 12-of-17 shooting from the floor for the Hornets. Countering the success of Walker and Jefferson, Marvin Williams missed all 10 of his shots to finish scoreless.

Miami took a 72-60 lead into half-time thanks to shooting 74.4 per cent from the field in the first half, including seven of 10 on three-pointers while converting their final 10 shots from the floor in the first half.

Jefferson, with 16 points in the second quarter, kept the Hornets in it with a flurry of baskets from the low post and mid-range, at one point converting eight of Charlotte's last nine field goals.

The Heat matched their Game 1 turnover total of six in the first quarter alone but shot 65 per cent from the field in the quarter as the teams were tied at 29 through one.

Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Clippers clinched a 102-81 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers at the Staples Centre.

Clippers point guard Chris Paul finished the game with 25 points, six rebounds and five assists.

Los Angeles take a 2-0 lead as they prepare to head to Portland for Game 3 on Saturday night.

REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 22, 2016, with the headline 'Accurate shooting turns up the Heat as Hornets wilt'. Print Edition | Subscribe