MIAMI (The Sports Xchange) — Luol Deng scored 31 points as the Miami Heat routed the Charlotte Hornets 123-91 in Game 1 of their first-round playoff series Sunday.READ MORE: Miami Weather: Summer ‘Muggies’ & Afternoon Storms This Sunday
Deng shot 11-of-13 from the field and 5-of-7 from 3-point range in his first postseason appearance for the Heat, who never trailed and built a double-digit lead midway through the first quarter.
Hassan Whiteside finished with 21 points and 11 rebounds in his playoff debut. Whiteside shot 9-of-11 from the field and blocked three shots.
Dwyane Wade scored 16 points and Goran Dragic had 10 assists in his Miami playoff debut. Amar’e Stoudemire and Joe Johnson were Miami’s other double-figure scorers with 11 points each.
The Heat tied a team playoff record for points in a quarter by taking a 41-22 lead at the end of the first period. The previous high was set against New Jersey May 10, 2006.
Deng scored 14 points in the quarter and Whiteside added 10 points leading Miami to its 19-point advantage. Whiteside’s hook shot with 4:42 left gave the Heat their first double-digit lead at 23-13. Deng was 3-for-3 on 3-pointers in the period and Josh Richardson’s conversion from beyond the arc with 44 seconds left increased Miami’s advantage to 39-20.READ MORE: Rapper Polo G, Others Facing Charges Following Traffic Stop In Miami
The Hornets avoided a larger first-half deficit as they converted 21-of-28 free throws.
Nicolas Batum scored 24 points and Kemba Walker finished with 19 points for Charlotte.
Unlike the Heat’s regular-season finale at Boston on Wednesday, when they squandered a 24-point halftime lead and lost by double digits, Miami built a 17-point advantage at halftime and ran off seven unanswered points to start the second half.
Deng scored five points during the early second-half spurt and his layup 2:23 into the second half gave Miami a 74-50 lead.
Game 2 will be Wednesday night at Miami before the series shifts to Charlotte for games three and four Saturday and April 25.
NOTES: F Nicolas Batum tested his sore left ankle in workouts before Game 1 to gauge his eventual availability for the series opener. Batum, who averaged 14.9 points per-game, sat out Charlotte’s regular season finale against Orlando on Wednesday. … C Al Jefferson continued his reserve role in game one. Coach Steve Clifford considered returning Jefferson to the starting lineup but opted to remain with Cody Zeller at center. … C Hassan Whiteside, F Justise Winslow and G Josh Richardson made their playoff debuts against Charlotte. Meanwhile, Heat veterans G Dwyane Wade, F Joe Johnson and F Udonis Haslem have a combined 377 post-season appearances entering Sunday’s game. … A sore left foot won’t keep Haslem from playing in the series, according to coach Erik Spoelstra said. “I’ve seen the man play through, literally, a broken foot for two months in the playoffs,” Spoelstra said.MORE NEWS: Second Annual 'Floatarama' Held On The New River To Celebrate Pride Month
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