March 28 2017, 07:31 | Van Peters
Jeremy Lin's ability to drive one of the keys in Hornets' victory
The Los Angeles Clippers didn't just lose Game 4 of their first-round playoff series with the Portland Trail Blazers on Monday night at the Moda Center. The game is scheduled for a 7:00 p.m. start time and it will be televised nationally on NBA TV.
After starting the series on a hot scoring streak where Miami averaged 119 points per game, the Hornets buckled down defensively and they held Miami to their lowest output of the playoffs only allowing 80 points in game three. Batum scored 24 points in the series opener, after averaging 14.9 points, 6.1 rebounds and 5.8 assists per game in the regular season. Six players scored in double-digits, including a team-high 18 points from Jeremy Lin.
"This isn't about winning one playoff game, it's about winning a playoff series", Clifford said of ending the team's playoff drought. "We want to keep on going", Walker said of the win. Charlotte also had a total of 18 assists and outscored the Heat 52-28 in the paint; it must have felt good to be home. This is a series, and Game 3 probably reflected more of what the next few games will look like. Fourth in the National Basketball Association in 3-pointers made during the regular season, Charlotte is 16 of 67 (23.9 percent) from beyond the arc for the series and was 1 of 16 in Game 2. Kemba Walker poured in 17 points as well, including 8-8 from the charity stripe. Look for the Heat to bounce back tonight and give the Hornets all they can handle. "He's crafty. And every time we tried to make a comeback, he hit a big shot".
Miami Heat guard Goran Dragic (7) dribbles the ball as Charlotte Hornets guard Kemba Walker (15) defends during the first half in game one of the first round of the NBA Playoffs at American Airlines Arena. The Hornets need to prove that while the Heat could be the better team with a record that doesn't demonstrate how good they really are, their game 3 win was more than just a homecoming thing.
In the third quarter of Game 3, Lin drained a three-pointer with 3:48 remaining to increase the Hornets' lead to 67-53.
They were crisp offensively, committing only four turnovers, and they came through with a brilliant defensive effort in limiting the Heat to 34.2 percent shooting from the field. The Heat got just 79 shots up compared to Charlotte's 90.
"The way we played all night is how we played all year", Walker said.
Nicolas Batum missed his second straight game with a strained foot and his status for Game 5 remains in question.
Frank Kaminsky has to be involved offensively again and play more minutes than Al Jefferson in game four.
Still, the Heat wouldn't go away, responding with a 17-1 run, including a long 25-footer by Johnson with a hand in his face.