2016 NBA Playoffs
Eastern Conference Quarterfinals – Game #7
#6 Charlotte Hornets at #3 Miami Heat
Best of Seven Series tied 3-3
Sunday, May 1, 2016, 1:05 pm Eastern, TV: ABC
American Airlines Arena – Miami, Florida
Opening Line: Miami -6 1/2
Current Line: Miami -6 1/2 (-105)
Opening Total: 191
Current Total: 190 1/2
Opening Money Line: Heat -295 / Hornets +235
Current Money Line: Heat -290 / Hornets +245
The Miami Heat and Charlotte Hornets finished with identical 48-34 records along with the Atlanta Hawks in the Southeast Division. It is no surprise that the Heat and Hornets are playing in a game seven as they also split the regular season series 2-2. The deciding game is Sunday in Miami.
The home team won the first four games of this series, but each team won on the road in the last two games. Miami took a 2-0 series lead with wins in game one 123-91 and game two 115-103. Charlotte took a 3-2 series lead with three straight wins including 96-80 in game three, 89-85 in game four and 90-88 in game five. Miami forced a game seven with a 97-90 win Friday in Charlotte.
Charlotte is coached by Steve Clifford. Charlotte is 45-43-1 ATS and the total is 42-44-2 this season. Miami is coached by Eric Spoelstra. Miami is 46-41-1 ATS and the total is 37-51-1 this season.
Charlotte was a 2 point favorite at home in game six and the total was 192. Miami would take a 59-50 lead into halftime, but would lead by only five points going into the fourth. Dwyane Wade scored 10 of his 23 points in the fourth quarter as Miami held on for the seven point win. All five Heat starters scored in double figures including 21 from Luol Deng. Kemba Walker scored 37 in a losing effort for the Hornets.
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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. He is questionable with a foot injury after missing a couple of games in this series. 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.
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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. He is probable with a thigh injury. 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.
Charlotte is 5-2 ATS after a straight up loss, 4-9 in first round games, 2-5 against teams with winning records, and 0-4 in Sunday games. The last four games in this series have gone under the total.
Miami is 8-1 ATS at home, 7-1 against teams with losing road records, 34-15-2 in Sunday games, 22-10 against Eastern Conference teams, and 13-6 in first round games. The over is 10-1 in Miami in this series recently.
Miami is a veteran team that is used to the pressures of a game seven, while Charlotte is a young team with virtually no playoff experience. Still, the Hornets won’t be intimidated. I think this will be a close game, but the Heat win a low scoring game.