Game Preview: Charlotte Hornets vs Miami Heat

By HeatDiehards
Mar. 08, 2017

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Returning from a one game road trip to Cleveland, the Heat are back home to take on the Charlotte Hornets. Like the Heat, the Charlotte Hornets are also trying to grab one of the final spots in the Eastern conference standings. The Heat are 1.5 games behind Chicago and Detroit Pistons for the seventh and eight seeds. The Hornets, on the contrary, are three games back of both.

In this southeast division match-up, the Hornets currently have a 2-0 advantage over the Heat. In the Heat's Oct.28 home opener loss against the hornets, they blew a 19-point lead. Then two months later, they lost again after being limited to 33 second half points. However, the two wins they had were against a Heat team still finding themselves. 

Now, they take on a team that has won 19 of their last 23 games, best in the league. That doesn't mean this will be an easy matchup for Miami. The Hornets starting point guard Kemba Walker has been a torn on the Heat's side all season long. One of the keys for the Heat tonight, will be trying to slow Walker down. That includes keeping him out of the paint and staying in front of him. Which is easier said than done. He's one of the quickest point guards in the league. It's going to take a team effort to slow him down.

The Heat will also have to continue to convert on their three pointers. The Hornets defensive strategy against the Heat in the past has been to load up in the paint to contain Hassan Whiteside. However, the Heat have done a great job of making teams pay from there, shooting around 40% as a team. Opening up the paint will allow Hassan Whiteside to do his damage along with the Heat's dynamic backcourt of Dion Waiters and Goran Dragic.

Injuries for the Heat: 

Probable: Okaro White (ankle) ,Tyler Johnson (shoulder, neck), Luke Babbitt (back spasms) 

Questionable:  James Johnson (elbow)  

Out:  Justise Winslow (shoulder), Josh McRoberts (foot) and Chris Bosh (blood clots) 

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