Kemba, Hornets hold off Heat

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Charlotte, NC ( - Kemba Walker 15 points, Al Jefferson and Bismack Biyombo both had 12 and the Charlotte Hornets held off the Miami Heat, 78-76, for their eighth win in nine games.

Walker returned from a two-game absence and overcame a 4-for-17 shooting night, hitting 5-of-6 free throws in the final 1:14 of the game to help Charlotte hold its lead, which it owned most of the game.

The Hornets led 65-55 through three quarters when Miami made things interesting.

"In the first half, we were just getting our tails kicked," said Heat coach Erik Spoelstra. "Second half we were better with it."

Dwyane Wade scored four points to open the fourth and Shawne Williams followed a Jefferson jumper with the next five. Jefferson was the only Hornet to score over the first 7:17 of the period.

Consecutive 3s by Chris Bosh and Mario Chalmers near the 4:00 mark gave Miami its first lead since midway through the first quarter. The Heat then went three-plus minutes without scoring, missing five straight shots after the Chalmers trey.

A pair of Walker free throws tied the game, and Marvin Williams split a pair at the stripe to make it 75-74 with 56 seconds to play. After Shawne Williams missed a quick 3, Walker sank two more from the line.

"Basketball is a game of runs," said Walker. "It was up to us to stay mentally tough, get stops, and make plays on our end."

Trailing by two in the closing seconds, Bosh missed everything with a 3- pointer from the top of the key. Chalmers tracked down the rebound, and his final shot from the corner missed short.

Wade and Bosh both scored 17 points for the Heat, losers in three of four.

Game Notes

Walker missed the previous two games because of a knee injury ... Heat center Hassan Whiteside did not make the trip to Charlotte after injuring his ankle on Tuesday, and forward Luol Deng missed the game with an illness ... Miami has lost five of its last six games on the second night of a back-to-back ... Michael Kidd-Gilchrist had 14 rebounds for Charlotte, which enjoyed a 56-41 advantage on the glass. Biyombo and Cody Zeller had 12 boards apiece.