If you thought Miami could not top their game 1 performance, then you were wrong! They just absolutely obliterated the Hornets defense all night, and it came, once again, from inside the paint. Miami was getting shots off from inside all night and took advantage of a Hornets squad that is scratching their heads right now.
Dwyane Wade showed just how good he still is with 28 points and 8 assists, which was huge for the Heat, especially in the second half, when the defenses tightened up a little bit. Whiteside chipped in with a double-double and the bench players really stepped up behind the rookies, Winslow and Richardson.
The big thing for the Heat was that they were able to counter Charlotte’s scoring outburst with their own. That was huge because I said before that Charlotte would look to come out and knock the Heat off balance. Miami absorbed the blow and was able to hit back pretty well with a 43-point second quarter.
My concern after this game was Miami’s defensive effort. They gave up way to many drives to the rim and let Kemba Walker get going, which is bad for any opponent. Charlotte also killed them on the glass 54-40. Luckily, the Hornets rarely capitalized on their rebounding margin. Al Jefferson also got going and was able to punish the Heat inside with a wide variety of post moves.
As the series heads to Charlotte for games 3 and 4, I expect the defense to turn up a bit more for both teams. My advice for Miami is to make it a priority to lock down on defense a get the ball out of Walker’s hands. Without Batum, who left the game with a sprained ankle (get well soon), Charlotte does not have another ball-handler, so that may be a disadvantage for the Hornets.