Wednesday, January 17, 2018
Sports

Hornets end long playoff drought

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — After the Hornets lost the first two games of their first-round series against the Heat, team owner Michael Jordan and assistant coach Patrick Ewing approached coach Steve Clifford with a suggestion: post up 7-foot rookie Frank Kaminsky more.

"When you have two first-ballot Hall of Famers. … and they both say, 'Post Frank,' " Clifford joked, "you have to post Frank."

The strategy worked.

Jeremy Lin had 18 points, and Kaminsky scored nine of his 15 during an 18-0 run in the third quarter that broke open a tie game as Charlotte beat Miami 96-80 Saturday to snap a 12-game playoff losing streak and earn its first postseason victory in 14 years.

The Heat leads the series 2-1, with Game 4 set for Monday.

"This isn't about winning one playoff game, it's about winning a playoff series," Clifford said of ending the team's playoff drought. "This gives us a chance."

Kemba Walker had 17 for Charlotte. Marvin Williams, a nonfactor in the first two games while hitting just 1 of 17 shots, finished with 12 points and 14 rebounds.

Luol Deng scored 19 and hit five 3-pointers, and Dwyane Wade added 17 for Miami. Hassan Whiteside had 13 points and 18 rebounds but battled foul trouble.

Miami, which shot 58 percent from the field in the first two games, was held to 34 percent. The Hornets outscored the Heat 52-28 in the paint and had four turnovers to Miami's 15.

"We made a lot of mistakes," Deng said. "In the first two games we did a good job of taking away of guys' tendencies. They rebounded and ran out when they got the lead and kept going."

Looking to combat the Heat's height advantage on the perimeter, Clifford moved Williams to small forward — in place of the injured Nicolas Batum — and inserted Kaminsky and Al Jefferson into the starting lineup.

It didn't help early when Deng hit four 3-pointers in the first six minutes on Kaminsky.

But in the third quarter, Kaminsky got matched up on Wade in the low post and took over, almost scoring at will.

Hornets 96, Heat 80

MIAMI (80): Deng 6-12 2-4 19, J.Johnson 3-11 0-0 7, Whiteside 3-6 7-11 13, Dragic 4-13 3-4 11, Wade 7-20 3-3 17, Richardson 1-5 0-2 2, Winslow 1-7 2-4 4, Stoudemire 0-1 0-0 0, Weber 0-1 0-0 0, Wright 1-2 2-2 4, Green 1-1 0-0 3, McRoberts 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 27-79 19-30 80.

CHARLOTTE (96): Williams 5-9 0-0 12, Kaminsky 5-12 5-5 15, Jefferson 5-11 0-0 10, Walker 4-19 8-8 17, Lee 3-11 2-2 8, Lin 7-16 2-3 18, Zeller 4-8 4-4 12, Hawes 1-2 0-0 2, Daniels 1-1 0-0 2, Hansbrough 0-0 0-0 0, Harrison 0-0 0-0 0, Lamb 0-1 0-0 0, Gutierrez 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 35-90 21-22 96.

Miami 28 16 14 22— 80

Charlotte 29 20 26 21— 96

3-Point GoalsMiami 7-22 (Deng 5-6, Green 1-1, J.Johnson 1-4, Wright 0-1, Dragic 0-3, Richardson 0-3, Winslow 0-4), Charlotte 5-18 (Williams 2-3, Lin 2-3, Walker 1-6, Hawes 0-1, Lee 0-2, Kaminsky 0-3). Fouled OutNone. ReboundsMiami 65 (Whiteside 18), Charlotte 54 (Williams 14). AssistsMiami 13 (Dragic 4), Charlotte 18 (Walker 7). Total FoulsMiami 20, Charlotte 24. A19,604 (19,077).

PACERS 100, RAPTORS 83: The Pacers changed lineups, moved the ball and forced turnovers.

By doing all that differently, they looked like a different team.

George Hill and Ian Mahinmi scored 22 each, Paul George added 19 and host Indiana bounced back from an embarrassing home loss two days earlier to even their series at 2 against the Raptors.

"This is how I wanted us to respond to the Game 3 loss," George said. "I thought we were very attentive and focused on evening this series up."

The turnaround from 48 hours earlier was remarkable.

The Pacers found the passion and energy they were missing Thursday, defended aggressively and won the rebounding battle for the first time in the series.

Pacers 100, Raptors 83

TORONTO (83): Carroll 4-9 0-0 12, Scola 0-5 1-2 1, Valanciunas 6-7 4-4 16, Lowry 4-12 4-6 12, DeRozan 4-15 0-0 8, Joseph 0-2 0-0 0, Patterson 2-5 3-4 8, Biyombo 1-1 3-8 5, Ross 2-9 2-2 7, Powell 3-5 2-2 10, Johnson 0-0 2-2 2, Thompson 1-1 0-0 2, Wright 0-3 0-0 0. Totals 27-74 21-30 83.

INDIANA (100): George 6-16 6-7 19, Turner 2-13 0-0 4, Mahinmi 9-14 4-5 22, G.Hill 9-11 2-2 22, Ellis 3-7 0-0 7, S.Hill 2-4 1-2 7, Lawson 2-4 0-0 4, Stuckey 3-8 0-0 6, Miles 2-3 0-1 4, Allen 0-0 0-0 0, J.Hill 0-1 0-0 0, Robinson III 2-2 1-1 5, Young 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 40-85 14-18 100.

Toronto 16 26 16 25— 83

Indiana 28 29 16 27— 100

3-Point GoalsToronto 8-30 (Carroll 4-8, Powell 2-3, Patterson 1-4, Ross 1-4, DeRozan 0-2, Scola 0-4, Lowry 0-5), Indiana 6-16 (S.Hill 2-3, G.Hill 2-4, Ellis 1-2, George 1-4, Young 0-1, Stuckey 0-2). Fouled OutLowry. ReboundsToronto 56 (Biyombo 9), Indiana 49 (Mahinmi 10). AssistsToronto 12 (Lowry 5), Indiana 24 (Mahinmi 5). Total FoulsToronto 20, Indiana 22. TechnicalsCarroll, Patterson, Valanciunas, George. A18,165 (18,165).

THUNDER 119, MAVS 108: Russell Westbrook had 25 points and 15 assists, and the visiting Thunder took a commanding 3-1 lead in a testy first-round series that got quite a bit testier.

Enes Kanter had his second straight playoff career high with 28 points on 12-of-13 shooting for Oklahoma City, which never trailed in two games in Dallas.

Kevin Durant scored 19 before he was ejected in the final minute for a flagrant foul on Dallas' Justin Anderson. It was the last of several tense moments, and Dallas team security had to make sure Durant didn't leave the court in front of the Mavericks bench.

Thunder 119, Mavericks 108

OKLAHOMA CITY (119): Durant 7-20 4-8 19, Ibaka 7-11 1-1 16, Adams 5-7 4-6 14, Westbrook 7-19 8-12 25, Roberson 1-3 0-0 2, Waiters 4-5 3-3 12, Collison 0-1 0-0 0, Kanter 12-13 4-4 28, Foye 1-4 0-0 3, Morrow 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 44-83 24-34 119.

DALLAS (108): Matthews 5-13 6-7 19, Nowitzki 12-21 3-3 27, Pachulia 4-4 1-1 9, Williams 0-0 0-0 0, Felton 9-16 0-0 19, Barea 0-7 0-0 0, Lee 3-5 0-0 6, Harris 4-5 1-2 12, Anderson 4-8 1-2 10, Mejri 2-2 2-2 6, Villanueva 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 43-83 14-17 108.

Oklahoma City 33 24 32 30— 119

Dallas 18 30 31 29— 108

3-Point GoalsOklahoma City 7-16 (Westbrook 3-5, Waiters 1-1, Ibaka 1-3, Foye 1-3, Durant 1-4), Dallas 8-22 (Harris 3-3, Matthews 3-8, Anderson 1-3, Felton 1-4, Nowitzki 0-1, Barea 0-1, Villanueva 0-2). Fouled OutNone. ReboundsOklahoma City 52 (Roberson, Adams 8), Dallas 40 (Nowitzki 8). AssistsOklahoma City 26 (Westbrook 15), Dallas 25 (Felton 11). Total FoulsOklahoma City 19, Dallas 27. TechnicalsIbaka, Westbrook, Mejri. Flagrant Fouls—Durant. Ejected—Durant. A20,516 (19,200).

CURRY'S RETURN: Stephen Curry is expected to play today in Game 4 of the Warriors' first-round series against the Rockets. Curry has missed two games with a sprained right ankle. Golden State won the first one without him, but Houston took Game 3 on Thursday.

DISCIPLINE: The league fined Celtics guard Marcus Smart $5,000 for violating its anti-flopping rules during Game 3 Friday against the Hawks. But Boston guard Isaiah Thomas said he hasn't been suspended for taking a swing at Atlanta's Dennis Schroder.

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