MIAMI (AP) — Josh Richardson scored a career-high 27 points, Dion Waiters added 19 and the Miami Heat shook off a horrendous start to beat the Charlotte Hornets 105-100 on Friday night.
The Heat went on a 9-0 run in the final moments to decide things, with a 3-pointer by Waiters with 1:09 left for a 102-96 lead being perhaps the shot of all for Miami.
Wayne Ellington scored 14 points, Tyler Johnson added 12 and Kelly Olynyk had 10 for Miami, which snapped a two-game slide.
Marvin Williams scored 16 points for Charlotte, which lost despite having seven players in double figures. Nicolas Batum had 13, while Michael Carter-Williams, Jeremy Lamb and Cody Zeller each had 12.
Charlotte fell to 1-10 on the road.
Goran Dragic’s basket with 2:30 left put the Heat up for good at 97-96, and the Heat pulled just far enough away after a drive by James Johnson, the Waiters 3-pointer from near the Charlotte bench and Richardson’s final field goal of the night.
Both teams were missing key players. Charlotte’s Kemba Walker sat for a second straight game with a left shoulder contusion, and Miami’s Hassan Whiteside is expected to miss two weeks or more with his second left knee bone bruise of the season.
The Heat were coming off blowout losses at Cleveland and New York, and thought returning home would provide a spark.
It did not — at least, not right away.
Miami missed its first 11 shots, six of them coming from 4 feet or closer, and got into a 16-1 deficit before the game was 5 1/2 minutes old. The Heat chipped away, got within 30-22 to end the quarter and grabbed the lead for the first time when Richardson got a steal and dunk for a 44-43 edge with 2:43 left in the half.
From there, it went back and forth, back and forth, back and forth.
Neither team led by more than four until Miami’s burst in the final 2 minutes. Charlotte’s biggest lead in the second half was four, and that lasted for 23 seconds of the third quarter. The Heat took a four-point lead late in the third, and that lasted for 41 seconds.
Hornets: Charlotte had all five starters in double figures for the third time this season. … The Hornets have led after six first quarters on the road this season. They’re 0-6 in those games. … Dwight Howard and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist each scored 10 for Charlotte.
Heat: Richardson’s previous career-best was 22. … Shaquille O’Neal, a part of Miami’s 2006 NBA title team and one of three players to have his Heat jersey retired, sat courtside. … Miami has faced a double-digit deficit in 11 of its 22 games this season, including each of the last three. … It’s the sixth time the Heat have been at .500 this season.
It was the fifth time this season that Howard had at least five fouls — and he got them Friday in 17 minutes. No. 5 came four minutes into the third quarter, and he sat the rest of the way.
Heat coach Erik Spoelstra was close with former Tennessee coach Butch Jones, with coaching-change season in full swing he’s kept an eye on the college football circuses at Florida State, Texas A&M and other places in recent days. He also confessed that he’s enjoys the comments of a certain first-year coach at nearby Florida Atlantic. “It’s hard not to follow Lane Kiffin,” Spoelstra said. “I wish I could be like that.”
Hornets: Host Orlando on Monday, opening a four-game homestand.
Heat: Host Golden State on Sunday, looking to beat the Warriors in Miami for a second straight year.
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