Heating Up: Hornets vs. Heat Reaction

Miami Heat Heating Up

It was not a pretty start. The Miami Heat and Charlotte Hornets both started the game sloppy on both ends. The score was 9-6 midway through the first period with the Hornets leading early. Both teams picked it up after the first six minutes of the game. After trailing in the first half, Miami picked up its defensive intensity and got a huge lead in the third quarter. At one point, Miami was up by 30 points in the fourth period. With the win, Miami moves to 34-20 for the season. Here are four takeaways from Miami’s victory over Charlotte on Saturday.

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Butler Sets the Tone

As mentioned early, Miami didn’t have much going in the first quarter. But Jimmy Butler was able to attack the paint early to keep the Heat close. When the Hornets put a smaller defender on him, Butler immediately attacked in the post. It was an efficient night for Butler who shot 10-13 for the game. As always, he was able to get to the free-throw line and knock down his free throws. Butler also knocked down a couple of jump shots at the end of the shot clock. He basically took over the game in the third period to give Miami a huge lead. Butler ended the night with 27 points and six rebounds.


Bam Staying Aggressive

For all the talk about Victor Oladipo‘s return, it may be Bam Adebayo‘s offensive aggression that takes this team to the next level. It wasn’t pretty early in the game. Adebayo kept turning the ball over, especially above the three-point line. It looked like his thumb was bothering him whenever he handled the ball. However, we still saw an aggressive Adebayo on the offensive end. That’s more important than any potential trade acquisition or Oladipo return. If Adebayo is playing like this every night, it raises Miami’s offensive ceiling. On Saturday, we saw him attacking the mismatches, pushing the ball up the court and slamming, and scoring with intention. The efficiency wasn’t there but the shot attempts were up. Most importantly, he was a positive part of the Heat’s offense. Adebayo finished the night with 20 points and 12 rebounds.

Controlling the Pace

The biggest question of the game was which team was going to control the pace. The Hornets are a young team that likes to run and score the ball. Miami, on the other hand, likes to play at a slower pace. Especially with a player like Butler who likes to take his time before making his move. The pace worked in Miami’s favor early with both teams struggling to shoot. Charlotte made its run in the second quarter, and it seemed as if the pace was getting in Charlotte’s favor. But then, the game slowed down in the second half and Miami took control in the end. It also helps that Charlotte is a team Miami can switch well defensively against. Something to keep an eye on should the teams meet in the playoffs.

Martin’s Return to Charlotte

This was a bit of a homecoming game for Caleb Martin. Before Miami signed Martin, he was cut by the Hornets. The Hornets instead chose to keep his twin brother Cody Martin. The numbers don’t jump out, but Martin did play well. As always, he was everywhere on the floor. Defensively, he played the passing lanes well and battled inside for the defensive rebounds. He also attacked the boards on the offensive end as well. Martin has been huge for Miami all season and is expected to have his two-way contract converted to a standard contract at some point this year.

Next Up: The Washington Wizards on Monday. The game tips off at 7 pm EST.

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