TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami) — The Charlotte Hornets have won three straight games and took full control of the their first-round series against the fourth-seeded Miami Heat by stealing a win on the road on Wednesday. The Hornets have a chance to close out the series and advance to the Eastern Conference semifinals when they host the Heat in Game 6 on Friday.READ MORE: Miami Weather: Summer ‘Muggies’ & Afternoon Storms This Sunday
Charlotte leaned on its backcourt to even the series in Game 4 with a combined 55 points from Kemba Walker and Jeremy Lin but got only 25 points from the two in Game 5 while the frontcourt took control. Courtney Lee was having the worst night of the backcourt quartet before hitting the biggest shot of the game – a 3-pointer with 25.2 seconds left that put the Hornets in front for good.
“I was wide open so I just let it fly,” said Lee. “If I had to draw it up, I’ll take shooting 1-for-8 before I knock down a big shot any day.”
The Heat will leave Miami with the same feelings they had after leaving Charlotte following Game 4 as they question the refereeing but the NBA said Thursday that a non-foul on Dwyane Wade with 2.6 seconds left was the correct call.
Miami was dismayed by the whistles blown against them in Game 4 and subtly questioned the disparity in personal foul calls after the game but were more open about things after Game 5. Wade told reporters that he was fouled on the layup attempt that would have tied the game in the final seconds and his wife, actress Gabrielle Union, took to Twitter to advocate for fining the refs.
“It hurts losing at home,” said Heat coach Eric Spoelstra after the game. “But welcome to the playoffs. The playoffs just started now. One team beat somebody on the road. Now it gets real. Now we just have to collect ourselves, as raw as it feels right now. We have 48 hours to regroup and get ready for a heck of a battle in Game 6.”
Charlotte doesn’t know what it is going to get out of forward Marvin Williams from game-to-game in the playoffs, but he stepped up with a team-high 17 points on 7-of-10 shooting to go along with eight rebounds and three steals in Game 5.READ MORE: Rapper Polo G, Others Facing Charges Following Traffic Stop In Miami
The Hornets changed up the lineup before Game 3 and pushed Al Jefferson into a starting role with fellow center Frank Kaminsky, leaving Williams to do damage on the wing against smaller defenders. Williams went scoreless in 37 minutes in Game 4 and was a combined 1-of-17 in the first two gamesof the series but put together solid performances in two of the last three to help support Walker, Lin and Lee.
1. Hornets G Nicolas Batum (ankle) returned from a two-game absence in Game 5 and scored eight points in 25 minutes off the bench.
2. Miami starting PG Goran Dragic recorded more personal fouls (12) than assists (10) in the last three games.
3. A Charlotte franchise has not won a playoff series since 2002.
PREDICTION: Heat 105, Hornets 92MORE NEWS: Second Annual 'Floatarama' Held On The New River To Celebrate Pride Month
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