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Charlotte Hornets wrapup: Sunday’s home game vs. Miami Heat

By Richard Walker

Notes and observations from Sunday’s 121-111 Hornets’ home loss to the Miami Heat that dropped Charlotte to 31-33 overall:

… With a chance to sweep Miami for the first time since the 2001-02 season, Charlotte didn’t match the Heat’s playoff-type intensity or physical play and were down 118-94 with 5:42 to play before a 17-3 closing surge made the score respectable. “That’s a good basketball team over there,” coach James Borrego said. “We’ve got to be better.”

… The Hornets also lost another player to injury as starting forward Cody Martin suffered a left ankle injury and was helped off the court.

… Miami’s key stretch came in the third quarter after Charlotte closed within 65-63 with 11:02 to play in the period. Miami outscored the Hornets 37-15 the rest of the quarter to take a 20-point lead entering the final period. “The team that’s more physical is going to have the better edge,” Charlotte guard Terry Rozier said. “They were the more physical team.”

… North Carolina native Bam Adebayo had 20 points, seven rebounds and 10 assists to lead a Heat team that had six double-figure scorers. Born in Newark, N.J., Abebayo attended high at Pinetown Northside and High Point Christian, where he was named North Carolina’s Mr. Basketball in 2016.

… P.J. Washington (21 points, 6 rebounds), Miles Bridges (15 points, 4 rebounds, 5 assists), Rozier (14 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists), LaMelo Ball (14 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists), Jalen McDaniels (12 points) and Malik Monk (11 points) led Charlotte.

… The loss means Charlotte is likely locked into the 7th- through 10-place Eastern Conference play-in games since it is now 3 1-2 games behind sixth-place Boston with eight games left in the regular season. “We’re taking it one game at a time,” Bridges said. “The most important game in the next game. That’s all we can do.”

… Gordon Hayward missed his 16th straight game with a sprained right foot, but he’s at least sat on the bench without wearing a protective boot the last two games. “I think we’ve taken a great step there with him out of the boot,” Borrego said. “At least that’s progress for us and for him.”

What’s next: The Hornets visit the Detroit Pistons on Tuesday at 7 p.m. Charlotte will seek to tie a franchise record for most wins over another opponent as Saturday’s 107-94 win over Detroit was Charlotte’s 12th straight over the Pistons. The franchise record is 13 straight wins over the Orlando Magic.