Hornets, Heat tangle in Charlotte

(SportsNetwork.com) - The Charlotte Hornets have been playing great basketball of late and will try to keep it going Wednesday night when they welcome the Miami Heat to Time Warner Cable Arena.

The Hornets have won two in a row and seven of their last eight. Thus far, Charlotte is 2-0 on its three-game homestand and only trail the Heat by 1 1/2 games in the standings.

After an overtime win over the Indiana Pacers on Saturday, the Hornets clobbered the Minnesota Timberwolves, 105-80, on Monday.

The Hornets used a dominant second quarter to put away the T-wolves. The Hornets surged to an 18-point lead when they started the second quarter on a 17-2 run, getting 10 points from Gary Neal.

Charlotte shot 12-of-22 from 3-point range overall to pick up the win. Gerald Henderson and P.J. Hairston each hit three triples, and Henderson led Charlotte with 17 points.

Brian Roberts added 16 points and five assists for Charlotte, and the Hornets' reserves outscored Minnesota's by a 52-31 margin. Neal finished with 12 and Hairston chipped in 11.

"You need everybody," said Hornets coach Steve Clifford. "If you look at the best teams, they get to a place where everyone knows what their role is."

The Hornets shot 44.9 percent from the floor and forced 17 Minnesota turnovers.

The Heat have dropped two of three, including a brief stop in South Beach on Tuesday. Miami went 3-2 on a western trek, then returned home to lose to the Oklahoma City Thunder, 94-86.

Dwyane Wade, who missed the last two games with a strained left hamstring, and Chris Bosh scored 18 and 16 points, respectively. Hassan Whiteside scored 10 points in the first quarter for Miami before exiting in the second with an ankle injury. He didn't make the trip to Charlotte.

"We played hard enough for most stretches of the game, we just weren't sharp," said Miami coach Erik Spoelstra. "It was rough offensively for most of the night."

No other Miami player scored double figures as the Heat shot 47.1 percent from the field and 36.4 percent from beyond the 3-point arc.

What doomed the four-time reigning Eastern Conference champions was turnovers. The Heat committed 21, which led to 22 Thunder points, while only forcing 11 from OKC.

Despite playing five straight out west, the Heat play eight of their next 12 on the road.

The two teams have split two matchups this season with the home squad prevailing. Charlotte's win on Nov. 5 snapped a 20-game series losing streak, including the playoffs, and a nine-game home drought versus Miami.