2016 NBA Playoffs
Eastern Conference Quarterfinals – Game #3
#3 Miami Heat at #6 Charlotte Hornets
Heat Lead Best of Seven Series 2-0
Saturday, April 23, 2016, 5:35 pm Eastern, TV: TNT
Time Warner Cable Arena – Charlotte, North Carolina
Opening Line: Charlotte -3
Current Line: Charlotte -2 1/2
Opening Total: 202
Current Total: 200 1/2
Opening Money Line: Hornets -16i0 / Heat +140
Current Money Line: Hornets -145 / Heat +125
Many thought the first round series between the Miami Heat and Charlotte Hornets would be the most competitive series. After all both teams finished with identical 48-34 records and split the season series 2-2. However, so far Miami has dominated with home wins 123-91 in game one and 115-103 in game two Wednesday. The series shifts to Charlotte for game three Saturday.
Charlotte is coached by Steve Clifford. Charlotte is 42-42-1 ATS and the total is 42-40-2 this season. Miami is coached by Eric Spoelstra. Miami is 45-38-1 ATS and the total is 37-47-1 this season.
Miami was a five point favorite in game two and the total was 198. In a high scoring first half, Miami led 72-60 at halftime. The Heat shot 57.9% from the field and the Hornets were 42.7% from the field. Charlotte went 1/16 from three point range. Four Heat starters scored in double figures led by Dwyane Wade with 28 points. Kemba Walker had 29 for the Hornets. The loss was costly for the Hornets as Nicolas Batum suffered a foot injury and is out indefinitely.
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Miami is outscoring teams 100-98 this season. The Heat are #23 in scoring but #5 in points allowed. Miami is shooting 47% from the field and 33.6% from three point range. Miami is #4 in field goal percentage. The Heat make 74.4% of their free throws. Opponents are shooting 44.2% from the field and 34.7% from three point range. Miami averages 44.1 rebounds per game and opponents average 41.3 per game. Miami is #6 in rebounds allowed. The Heat average 20.8 assists, 13.2 turnovers, 6.7 steals and 6.5 blocks per game.
Forward Chris Bosh is out for the season with blood clots. He averaged 19.1 points, 7.4 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game. Dwyane Wade averages 19 points, 4.1 rebounds, 4.6 assists and 1.1 steals per game. Hassan Whiteside averages 14.2 points and 11.8 rebounds per game. Goran Dragic averages 14.1 points, 3.8 rebounds and 5.8 assists per game. Joe Johnson averages 13.4 points, 3.6 rebounds and 2.8 blocks per game. Luol Deng averages 12.3 assists, 6 rebounds and 1.9 assists per game. Gerald Green and Justise Winslow will also get time in the rotation. Udonis Haslem is probable with a foot injury. Tyler Johnson is out for the season with a shoulder injury.
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Charlotte is outscoring teams 103-101 this season. The Hornets are #11 or better in both categories. Charlotte is shooting 43.9% from the field and 36.2% from three point range. The Hornets are #8 in three point shooting. Charlotte makes 79% of their free throws and are #5 in the league. Opponents are shooting 44.4% from the field and 34.9% from three point range. Charlotte averages 43.9 rebounds per game and opponents average 44.7 per game. The Hornets average 21.7 assists, 11.9 turnovers, 7.3 steals and 5.3 blocks per game.
Guard Kemba Walker averages 20.9 points, 4.4 rebounds, 5.2 assists and 1.6 steals per game. He is probable with a knee injury. Guard Nicholas Batum averages 14.9 points, 6.1 rebounds and 5.8 assists per game. Forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is out for the season with a shoulder injury and played in only seven games this season. He averaged 12.7 points and 6.4 rebounds a game. Center Al Jefferson averages 12 points, 6.4 rebounds and 1.5 assists. Guard Jeremy Lin averages 11.7 points, 3.2 rebounds and 3 assists per game. Marvin Williams averages 11.7 points, 6.4 rebounds and 1.4 assists per game. Courtney Lee, Jeremy Lamb, Cody Zeller and Frank Kaminsky will also get minutes in the rotation.
Miami is 4-0 ATS in first round games, and on two days rest, 4-1 against teams with winning records, after a straight up win of 10 points or more, overall and after scoring 100 points or more, 21-7 against Eastern Conference teams8-2 against Southeast teams, 5-2 after allowing 100 points or more, 1-4 against teams with winning home records, and 1-6 in road games. The Heat are 16-7-1 ATS against the Hornets including 8-2 in Charlotte.
Charlotte is 11-4 ATS after a straight up loss of 10 points or more, 3-7 overall and against Eastern Conference teams, 2-5 at home, 2-7 against Southeast teams, 1-5 against teams with winning records, on two days rest and against teams with losing road records, 1-6 after scoring 100 points or more, and 0-4 in first round games. The over is 5-2 in this series recently, but the under is 16-5 in Charlotte between the teams.
I don’t understand why Charlotte is favored in this game. I know they are playing at home, but they have been dominated in the first two games. They have had no answer for Miami’s size. Clifford is debating whether to play a smaller line-up without Batum. I don’t think it will matter and I like Miami to win a close game on the road.