Hornets force Heat to pick their poison in Game 4 win

CHARLOTTE (North Carolina) • The Miami Heat effectively shut down the Charlotte Hornets' vaunted three-point shooting. However, the Hornets adjusted, and now they are making the Heat pay in other ways.

The Hornets pulled out an 89-85 win in Game 4 on Monday to even the National Basketball Association best-of-seven Eastern Conference first-round series at 2-2. And they did it by attacking the basket with drive after drive from guards Kemba Walker and Jeremy Lin.

Walker scored 34 points, including 11 straight in a key stretch in the fourth quarter. Lin added 21 off the bench on a night when the Hornets scored almost half their points - 44 of 89 - in the paint.

"We are not a one-dimensional team," Walker said.

"We can get to the basket when we have to, and that's what we were able to do tonight."

The Hornets were third in the NBA in three-pointers during the regular season. But they shot just 4-for-17 from behind the arc on Monday and have made just 16 trebles in their first four post-season games.

"This is so different for our team," Charlotte coach Steve Clifford said.

"They're taking away so many of the things we like to do.

"They're making us play differently than what we've done most of the year, but we're doing what we need to do."

Walker finished 13-for-28 from the field. He scored all the points in a 7-0 run after the Heat cut an 18-point deficit to one, allowing the Hornets to pull back ahead 85-77 with 3:49 left, and then he tacked on the Hornets' next two baskets.

"Throughout the year, I've made big plays down the stretch," Walker said. "That's what I'm known for.

"I just wanted to be aggressive, and if I can score, score, and if not, trust my team-mates."

Meanwhile, Russell Westbrook ended the Dallas Mavericks' season, leading the Oklahoma City Thunder to a 118-104 victory in Game 5 of the Western Conference first-round play-off series at the Chesapeake Energy Arena.

Oklahoma City won the series 4-1 to advance to a semi-final against the San Antonio Spurs. Game 1 will be on Saturday at San Antonio.

Guard Westbrook had 36 points, 12 rebounds and nine assists.

"I will tell you this, I'm happy he's on my team," Thunder coach Billy Donovan said of Westbrook.

" There is no question that Russell Westbrook is one of the best players in this league."

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 27, 2016, with the headline 'Hornets force Heat to pick their poison in Game 4 win'. Print Edition | Subscribe