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Sports

Charlotte Hornets Control Series With 90-88 Win Over Miami Heat

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nba.com

CharlotteObserver.com

The Charlotte Hornets are a victory away from the second round of the NBA playoffs.

Center Cody Zeller pulled in an in-bounds pass and dribbled away the final second or so, giving the Hornets a 90-88 victory at American Airlines Arena.

The Hornets will enter Friday’s Game 6 at Time Warner Cable Arena with a 3-2 lead in the best-of-7 series.

Forward Marvin Williams led the Hornets in scoring with 17 points, making 7 of 10 shots from the field.

Dwyane Wade led the Heat with 25 points, making 11 of 19 shots from the field.

Three who mattered

Wade: He’s supposed to be the best player in this matchup and he performed that way Wednesday.

Hassan Whiteside: He protected the rim and grabbed plenty of rebounds.

Nic Batum: His corner 3 cut the Heat’s lead to one midway through the fourth quarter.

Observations

▪  The Hornets got back small forward Batum after he missed the previous two playoff games with injuries to his left foot and ankle. Batum suggested he come off the bench, and that’s how Clifford used him.

▪  The Heat continues to say Chris Bosh is out for an indeterminate time. He has been out since the All-Star break after being diagnosed with a second bout of blood-clot issues.

▪  Interesting that Heat center Hassan Whiteside would accuse the Hornets of getting away with flopping, considering Wade’s reputation for just that.

▪  The tip-off time for Game 6 of the Hornets-Heat series in Charlotte hasn’t yet been set. It may be contingent on whether the Golden State Warriors-Houston Rockets series ends in five games.

▪  Downtown Miami was awfully busy Wednesday night. Beyond the playoff game, Beyonce performed a concert at the Marlins’ baseball park.

Worth mentioning

▪  The Heat activated guard Tyler Johnson, who has been out some time following shoulder surgery. Coach Erik Spoelstra did not plan to play Johnson, except in an emergency situation.

▪  Zeller missed a portion of the first half with a banged up knee.

▪  Batum’s return meant rookie Aaron Harrison was inactive for Game 5.

Report card

C OFFENSE: They shot better from 3-point range but lost the battle in the lane.

B DEFENSE: No Miami player did much damage other than Wade.

B+ COACHING: The Hornets have now won in Miami in consecutive months. The Heat won six consecutive home games in the interim.

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