The Miami Heat have shown the ability to overcome tough situations and win games; the Charlotte Hornets would be wise to pick up that trait.
The teams, with vastly different trends, meet Tuesday night in Charlotte, N.C.
The Heat hold a five-game winning streak following Sunday night’s 118-113 comeback victory at San Antonio.
“A good step,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “Hopefully, we can build on that.”
Spoelstra called it a “character game,” and that’s probably what the Hornets need to get going in the right direction.
It’s unclear to what degree that guard LaMelo Ball can carry the Hornets as the team’s injury list has grown.
“Right now, we don’t have any room for error,” Charlotte coach Steve Clifford said. “We’re asking a lot out of a few guys right now and it’s going to be hard until we get guys back.”
The Hornets haven’t won consecutive games this season. They’ve been porous on defense, allowing at least 124 points in each of their past five defeats.
Ball has been consistent on offense, racking up at least 30 points in three of the past four games.
The Heat’s visit is part of the NBA in-season tournament. Both teams are part of East Group B and have 1-0 records. Both clubs defeated the Washington Wizards.
The matchup also launches a five-game homestand for Charlotte, which has played only one home game in November, and is the final stop of Miami’s four-game road trip.
Duncan Robinson led the Heat in scoring for the first time this season with 26 points in the San Antonio game as Miami overcame a 19-point hole.
“It shows our will to win,” Heat center Bam Adebayo said.
The Heat are going to be counting even more on Adebayo and forward Jimmy Butler, Spoelstra said. Yet the growth of Robinson’s talents continues to be vital.
“We have to be able to explore all the different options and parts of our menu offensively and get different guys going,” Spoelstra said. “Duncan was really able to be aggressive.”
Spoelstra said it’s important to have Butler and Adebayo as anchors for the offense, with the ability of others to work off them.
Heat forward Nikola Jovic hasn’t played this month, mostly because of illness. He might be ready to return soon, but that might include a stopover in the G League before he’s on the court again for Miami, Spoelstra said.
“He just needs to get a practice and a workout and we’ll figure out what the next step may be,” the coach said. “The fact that he’s not playing should not be an indication of how we feel he has developed.”
Charlotte has been without guard Terry Rozier for more than a week, and now highly touted rookie Brandon Miller is out with an ankle sprain suffered Sunday.
“He tried to come back in,” Clifford said. “I think it’ll be more day-to-day. We’ll see how he feels getting treatment and stuff and hopefully, he’s good by Tuesday.”
The Hornets’ latest backcourt adjustments resulted in Theo Maledon logging 25 minutes against the Knicks. He managed six points and four assists, making just two of 12 attempts from the field. Bryce McGowens joined Charlotte’s backcourt rotation, but he had only two points in 19 minutes.
The Heat and Hornets will meet three times in less than a month’s span.
– Field Level Media
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