NBA: Miami shooters bring heat for 2nd straight play-off game, Cleveland sink host of threes

Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade (front) and Charlotte Hornets guard Courtney Lee battle for the ball during their NBA play-off game in Miami on April 20, 2016.
Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade (front) and Charlotte Hornets guard Courtney Lee battle for the ball during their NBA play-off game in Miami on April 20, 2016. PHOTO: REUTERS/USA TODAY SPORTS

MIAMI (AFP) - Dwyane Wade sank two key late baskets, as the Miami Heat shot better than 57 per cent for the second straight National Basketball Association (NBA) game en route to a 115-103 play-off win over the Charlotte Hornets on Wednesday.

After a franchise playoff-best first half of shooting, Miami maintained control in the second half to protect home-court advantage in the first-round Eastern Conference series and go ahead two games to none.

"I was taking what they gave me, understanding what their game plan was," Wade said.

"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." Game 3 is on Saturday in Charlotte.

In Cleveland, LeBron James scored 27 points and the Cavaliers tied an NBA play-off record with 20 three-pointers in a 107-90 victory over the Detroit Pistons.

Wade scored a team-high 28 points and added eight assists for the Heat, who shot 57.9 per cent from the floor on Wednesday. That followed a Game 1 victory in which they shot 57.6 percent.

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.

A total of five Miami players finished in double figures, including Hassan Whiteside, who scored 17 points on eight-of-eight shooting from the field and Luol Deng, with 16 points.

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

"Everything was falling for me," Whiteside said.

Miami took a 72-60 lead into half-time thanks to shooting a franchise playoff-best 74.4 per cent from the field in the first half, including seven-of-10 from three-point range.

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.

The Hornets' Marvin Williams missed all 10 of his shots from the floor to finish scoreless. Nicolas Batum had nine points and seven rebounds but left early in the fourth quarter with a sprained left ankle and did not return.

The Cavaliers now lead their series 2-0 with Game 3 on Friday night at Detroit.

The Cavs struggled to put away the Pistons in Game 1 and struggled again until late in the third quarter on Wednesday.

They trailed by 10 points early and still were behind midway through the third quarter before a Kevin Love three-pointer gave Cleveland the lead for good at 63-62.

The 20 three-pointers were more than the Cavs made in any game during the regular season and made them the fourth team to hit 20 in a play-off game. The most recent was the Golden State Warriors last year.

While J.R. Smith (21 points), Love (16 points) and Kyrie Irving (22 points) kept draining three-pointers, James drove to the basket in a game plan that worked to perfection in the fourth quarter.

"We have shooters. They are designated snipers, and that's why we've got them," James said. "I am not one of them. I am more like a tank."

In the Western Conference contest, Chris Paul scored 25 points, and the Los Angeles Clippers rolled to a 102-81 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers to take a 2-0 edge in their series.

J.J. Redick scored 13 of his 17 points in the first half for Los Angeles, while Blake Griffin added 12 points and nine rebounds. DeAndre Jordan grabbed 18 rebounds but scored only three points.

Damian Lillard and Mason Plumlee had 17 points apiece, and CJ McCollum chipped in 16 points for the Trail Blazers.

Game 3 is on Saturday at Portland's Moda Centre.