CHARLOTTE (CBSMiami/AP) – Following a tough home loss on Tuesday night, the Miami Heat have a chance to get back on track when they visit a familiar foe on Wednesday.
An opportunity to extend one of the NBA’s longest active winning streaks against one opponent figures to set the Heat up to bounce back from their first defeat since losing LeBron James.
However, they’ll be without the massive production James turned over that span when they visit the Charlotte Hornets on Wednesday night.
The Heat (3-1) have won 16 straight over Charlotte by an average of 13.4 points since an 83-78 road defeat on March 9, 2010. It’s tied for the NBA’s longest active winning streak by one team against another. Miami has also won 16 in a row versus Toronto and San Antonio has beaten Washington 16 straight times.
All but one of those 16 wins against Charlotte came after James joined Miami, and he averaged 30.2 points in the series while with the Heat.
Miami had been averaging 109.3 points on 49.1 percent shooting prior to shooting 41.9 percent in Tuesday’s 108-91 home loss to Houston. Chris Bosh scored 21 but was outdone by Dwight Howard’s 26 points and 10 rebounds, while Dwyane Wade scored 19.
The Rockets were 17 of 37 from 3-point range after the Heat had held their first three foes to 17-of-58 shooting from long distance. Miami, which had outscored opponents 82-63 in the fourth quarter, was outscored 25-14 in the final period by Houston.
“That’s tough at the end,” coach Erik Spoelstra said. “Probably more mental breakdowns than anything else physically going down the stretch. … You do have to credit them. They don’t make it easy. They have a high-octane offense.”
Charlotte (1-3) figures to be a much easier assignment for Miami’s defense. The Hornets are averaging 84.3 points during a three-game skid and have hit 31.0 percent of their 3-point attempts on the season with 5.5 made per game.
Lance Stephenson was expected to upgrade Charlotte’s offense after averaging a career-high 13.8 points on 49.1 percent shooting in 2013-14 for Indiana, but has been a disappointment. He was 1 for 6 for two points in Tuesday’s 100-91 loss at New Orleans and is averaging 6.3 points on 27.3 percent shooting.
Kemba Walker also struggled, going 4 of 13 from the floor, and Gerald Henderson had six points and two rebounds in 32 minutes while starting in place of Michael Kidd-Gilchrist.
Kidd-Gilchrist, who averaged 11.3 points and 7.7 rebounds through the first three games, was out due to bruised ribs suffered in Sunday’s loss at New York. It’s unclear if he has a chance to play Wednesday.
“We didn’t keep playing, keep competing for every possession,” coach Steve Clifford said. “We had stretches of the game where we played well, but just basic stuff, not running back, not getting our defense set and blown coverages. Those things are on me.”
The Hornets gave up 14 second-chance points on 11 offensive rebounds. Miami is averaging 15.5 second-chance points after scoring 21 versus Houston.
Al Jefferson is averaging 21.4 points and 12.1 rebounds over his last seven meetings with the Heat.
Bosh has averaged 18.7 points on 54.9 percent shooting while playing in 15 of Miami’s 16 consecutive wins in the series and was 8 of 15 from 3-point range in last season’s four meetings.
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