Heat up the Hornets 144-115 in 3vall to get to the brink of the #1 playoff seed – Twin Cities

The mission, at least the regular season challenge, is almost complete. And it could be over before they get back to court.

With Tuesday night’s 144-115 win over the Charlotte Hornets at the FTX Arena, the Miami Heat need just one win in their last two games to earn the No. 1 playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

And even that may not be necessary, as the Heat may decide against the visiting Atlanta Hawks before returning to the court Friday night pending the outcome of upcoming games for the Boston Celtics and Milwaukee Bucks.

With assistant Chris Quinn leading the Heat for a second straight game and coach Erik Spoelstra still on the NBA health and safety protocols, the Heat found ample answers on a night when Kyle Lowry was released to rest and produced the second highest scoring game in the franchise’s 34 seasons. The record remains 149 in a double overtime game in March 2018.

“You can see we have a lot of guns on this end of the court,” Quinn understated.

There was a career-high regular-season point of 35 from Tyler Herro, 27 from Jimmy Butler, 22 from Bam Adebayo, and 21 from Duncan Robinson.

“I think it just continues to play to our strengths,” Robinson said.

Herro’s 35 points tied Dwyane Wade’s franchise record for regular-season points by a reserve.

The effort was fueled by Heat’s 23-of-42 3-point shooting, which set the franchise record for 3-pointers.

The win continued the Heat’s five-game winning streak of the season.

Five Degrees of Heat from Tuesday’s game:

1. Closing time: The Heat fell back 10 early, trailing 32-29 by the end of the first period and leading 70-60 at halftime.

After falling behind in the third, the Heat regrouped to take a 102-97 lead in the fourth.

A turning point then came with 10:26 to go when Quinn successfully challenged what was ruled an attacking foul on Butler. With the reversal, Kelly Oubre was awarded a foul, with Butler’s two free throws taking the Heat to 109-99, the Heat’s widest lead at this stage.

A Herro 3 pointer followed for a 112-99 heat lead that was quickly taken to 18.

“I think it’s our distance that has improved and the guys are working on helping the guys get shots,” Quinn said. “Our guys are doing a really great job helping each other.”

2. Tucker outputs: At a season when you don’t want to lose players, starting power forward PJ Tucker exited the dressing room midway through the third third and lost for the game with a strained right calf.

That came with Markieff Morris, who started Sunday night in Toronto and was already resting with a strained left hip flexor.

Tucker, who was given Sunday time off in Toronto, had been ruled questionable with a sore left knee.

He finished with seven points and seven rebounds in 21:47.

“He’ll be examined tomorrow,” Quinn said.

3. Rested, Rejuvenated: But the free Sunday apparently worked wonders for Butler, who scored 14 first-half points, including a buzzer-hitting jumper as he brought the Heat to their 10-point half-time lead.

Butler also had a team-high five assists and two steals in his 18 first-half minutes, helping the Heat end the second quarter with a 12-3 run.

“Jimmy is an absolute winner,” said Quinn. “He senses a game when the game is on, which is what a team needs.”

4. Space Race: Robinson delivered exactly the kind of distance Spoelstra envisioned with his move to second unit, firing 6 of 7 to 3-pointers in the first half after Max Strus opened 2 of 3 from beyond the arc in his first stint .

The six 3-pointers was Robinson’s all-time high for each half of the season.

Robinson completed 7 of 11 from beyond the arc, his only shots of the game, and capitalized on the moment in his new bank role.

“For me,” he said, “it’s just a matter of taking care of myself. It’s definitely not something that’s easy per se.

“Whatever is asked of me every night, I’m two feet in, four feet in.”

5. Rotation Revision: Herro, Robinson, Caleb Martin and Omer Yurtseven played as the Heat’s four main reserves, with Yurtseven’s chance coming when Dewayne Dedmon missed the game with a sprained ankle.

The reshuffle left Victor Oladipo out of rotation after his 21 points sparked the Heat’s win over the Raptors.

“Tonight, with Jimmy back and some other guys,” Quinn said, “it was a decision to do what we did before that game in Toronto.”

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https://www.twincities.com/2022/04/05/heat-rout-hornets-144-115-in-3-for-all-to-move-to-verge-of-no-1-playoff-seed/ Heat up the Hornets 144-115 in 3vall to get to the brink of the #1 playoff seed – Twin Cities

Jessica MacLeish

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