Wednesday, April 27, 2016
Charlotte Hornets guard Courtney Lee (1) reacts after making a basket against the Miami Heat during the second half in game five of the first round of the NBA Playoffs at American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
(The Sports Xchange) – Courtney Lee hit a go-ahead 3-pointer with 25 seconds remaining, and the Charlotte Hornets earned a 90-88 victory over the Miami Heat on Wednesday to take a 3-2 lead in their first-round Eastern Conference playoff series.
Charlotte, with a chance to end the best-of-seven series, will host Game Five on Friday.
With the Hornets trailing 88-87 in the final minute, Charlotte guard Kemba Walker missed a jumper but for the second game in a row Lee came up with a huge offensive rebound.
This time, Lee went right back up and hit his game-deciding 3-pointer.
Marvin Williams led Charlotte with 17 points and the Hornets also got 14 points each from Al Jefferson and Walker. Lee had eight points as Charlotte won their third straight game in the series.
Dwyane Wade had a game-high 25 points but missed a shot on a drive to the basket with 2.6 seconds left that could have tied the score on Miami’s final possession.
Lee blocked Wade’s shot from behind and Wade’s complaints that he was fouled were to no avail.
Wednesday’s game was the first time in the series that the home team lost.
The Hornets got good news when forward Nicolas Batum, usually a starter, returned after missing two games due to a foot injury.
Batum, one of only six players in the NBA this season to average at least 14 points, six rebounds and five assists, came off the bench and produced eight points in 25 minutes.
Miami also got an injured player back in uniform but he did not play. Guard Tyler Johnson, who had been out after surgery on his left shoulder, suited up for the first time since January.
Charlotte led 28-25 after a back-and-forth first quarter.
Miami got off to a 14-6 lead, but Charlotte went on a 14-0 run to key their comeback.
The Hornets started the second quarter on a 15-3 run and led by as many as 12 points. However, Charlotte had to settle for a 49-47 lead at halftime as Wade scored 10 second-quarter points.
Charlotte made five of 10 first-half 3-point attempts. Miami made one of eight.
For the game, the Hornets were 12-for-24 from long distance, the Heat 5-for-18.
Miami surged to a 71-65 lead after three quarters. The Heat held Charlotte to 26.1 percent shooting in the quarter, outscoring the Hornets 24-16.
That set the stage for the fourth quarter, when the Hornets battled back to pull the upset.
(Editing by Peter Rutherford)