Hornets Snap 14-Year Playoff Drought, Beat Heat 96-80
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Jeremy Lin scored 18 points, Kemba Walker had 17 and the Charlotte Hornets beat the Miami Heat 96-80 on Saturday night to snap a 12-game playoff losing streak and earn their first postseason victory in 14 years.
Rookie Frank Kaminsky, who got the starting nod, scored eight of his 15 points during an 18-0 run in the third quarter that broke open a 53-all game.
The Heat lead the series 2-1, with Game 4 set for Monday night.
Miami, which shot 58 percent from the field in the first two games, was limited to 34 percent shooting.
The Hornets outscored the Heat 52-28 in the paint and had four turnovers to Miami’s 15.
Looking to combat the Heat’s height advantage on the perimeter, Hornets coach Steve Clifford moved Williams to small forward — in place of the injured Nicolas Batum — and inserted Kaminsky and Al Jefferson into the starting lineup.
It didn’t help early on.
Miami started off Game 3 similar to the previous two, with Deng hitting four 3-point attempts in the first six minutes for an early 20-15 lead.
But Charlotte withstood the early Heat assault and took the lead near the end of the first quarter behind eight points from Lin, who found his way to the basket repeatedly and drew a second foul on Whiteside.
Charlotte opened a 49-44 halftime lead after Miami cooled off significantly, shooting just 36.6 percent from the field. That was a remarkable turnaround from Game 2, when Miami shot 74.4 percent from the field in the opening half and scored 73 points.
Kaminsky gave the Hornets a spark in the third quarter with 11 points, including two spin moves against Wade and a turnaround jumper over Joe Johnson. Lin followed with a 3-pointer from the right wing to push the lead to 14, raising the fans clad in black “Enter the swarm” T-shirts and white Hornets headbands off their seats.
The Hornets would push the lead to 24 in the fourth quarter with Lin scoring and creating off the fast break.
Charlotte was 31-10 at home in the regular season.
Heat: After making 5 of 7 3-pointers to start the game, Miami made just 1 of its next 13 attempts.
Hornets: Were 21 of 22 from the foul line led by Walker, who was 8 of 8. … Had Charlotte lost, it would have matched the New York Knicks’ record of 13 straight postseason defeats. … Batum’s status for Game 4 remains up in the air.
BOSH ON THE SIDELINE
For the first time since the All-Star break, Chris Bosh was with the Heat for a road game.
“He brings a steadying influence, a leadership at all levels – even when he’s not on the floor,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “That is why I always lean on him. He’s like another coach. He has been through our system and sees the game through a different lens than most players. All of that helps.”
JORDAN ON HAND
Hornets owner Michael Jordan took his regular seat at the end of the team’s bench for the playoff game.