Charlotte Hornets vs Miami Heat Preview and Predictions -03-11-2020
When and where: March 11, 2020, American Airlines Arena, Miami, FL, 7:30 PM ET
The Charlotte Hornets face lopsided odds in their journey to the American Airlines Arena on Wednesday to take on the Miami Heat. Outside of a miraculous win over the Houston Rockets, the Hornets have lost four of their last five games. They fell in a double overtime offensive shootout with the Atlanta Hawks on Monday night. Meanwhile, the Heat got back on the winning track by upending the Washington Wizards on the road.
Hornets stung by defensive collapse
The Hornets aren’t doing a great job of convincing anyone their wins over the Houston Rockets and Toronto Raptors was more than simply a stroke of good fortune. Since beating the Raptors, they have gone on to lose three of their last four games. However, the most crushing defeat came in the form of a controversial double overtime loss to the Hawks.
On a night where Terry Rozier scored 40 points, it still wasn’t enough to overcome 143 points and a 55.2 field goal shooting percentage for the Hawks. The Hornets entered that game as 4.5-point dogs and look forward to cleaning up their act in Wednesday’s meeting with the Heat.
Don’t make the mistake of assuming this is the same Heat team that struggles on the road. They are averaging 117.0 points per game on their home floor. That’s the sort of offensive dominance that can blow the Hornets’ league-worst scoring defense out of the water.
There won’t be much stopping the bleeding on the other end of the floor, either. Charlotte is ranked 24th in the league in defensive efficiency, which could lead to big problems against a Heat team averaging 47.0 percent shooting. Unless Rozier or Devonte’ Graham have a splashy performance, this game could get out of hand fast.
Are the Heat the biggest threat to the Bucks?
ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith named the Heat as the team he believes matches up the best with the top-ranked Milwaukee Bucks in the Eastern Conference. He believes their league-best 3-point shooting percentage could ultimately propel them in a playoff setting.
One thing is certain: The Heat can beat any team in the league on their home floor.
They recently knocked off the Wizards on the road in a game where they were 5.5-point favorites. Even with Bradley Beal on the floor, the Heat’s defense stifled the Wizards by holding them to 89 points and a 33.3 field goal shooting percentage.
They’ll aim for an encore performance in Wednesday’s meeting with the Hornets. The Heat is averaging 47.0 percent shooting on offense heading into a game with Charlotte’s up-and-down defense. There have been times when they’ve actually been stingy in the scoring department, but their efficiency doesn’t get much further than that.
The offense of the Heat could be impacted due to the possibility of the team being short-handed on Wednesday. Jimmy Butler is currently questionable with a toe injury, while Kendrick Nunn is questionable with an illness. It could quickly turn into the Goran Dragic and Bam Adebayo show if the other two are unable to go.
The Miami Heat are an American professional basketball team based in Miami, Florida. The Heat compete in the National Basketball Association (NBA) as a member of the league’s Eastern Conference Southeast Division. The Heat play their home games at American Airlines Arena, and have won three NBA championships.
The franchise began play in 1988 as an expansion team. After a period of mediocrity, the Heat would gain relevance during the 1990s following the appointment of former head coach Pat Riley in the role of team president. Riley would construct the high-profile trades of Alonzo Mourning in 1995, and of Tim Hardaway in 1996, which immediately propelled the team into playoff contention. Mourning and Hardaway would eventually lead the Heat to four division titles, prior to their departures in 2001 and 2002, respectively. As a result, the team struggled, and entered into a rebuild in time for the 2002–03 season.
Led by Dwyane Wade, and following a trade for former NBA Most Valuable Player (MVP) Shaquille O’Neal, Miami advanced to play in the NBA Finals in 2006, where they clinched their first championship, led by Riley as head coach. After the departure of O’Neal two years later, the team entered into another period of decline for the remainder of the 2000s. This saw the resignation of Riley as head coach, who returned to his position as team president, and was replaced by Erik Spoelstra.
In 2010, after creating significant cap space, the Heat partnered Wade with former league MVP LeBron James, and perennial NBA All-Star Chris Bosh, creating the “Big Three”. During their four-year spell together, and under the guise of Spoelstra, James, Wade, and Bosh, they would lead the Heat to the NBA Finals in every season, and won two back-to-back championships in 2012 and 2013. The trio would all depart by 2016, and the team entered another period of rebuilding. Wade was eventually reacquired in 2018, albeit to retire with the franchise.
The Heat hold the record for the NBA’s third-longest winning streak, 27 straight games, set during the 2012–13 season. Four Hall of Famers have played for Miami, while James has won the NBA MVP Award while playing for the team.