CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Malik Monk scored 32 points, Terry Rozier had 26 points and a career-high 11 assists. and the Charlotte Hornets handed the Miami Heat their sixth straight loss, 110-105 on Friday night.
Devonte Graham added 16 points and two clutch free throws for the Hornets, who nearly squandered a 30-point first-half lead.
Jimmy Butler had 20 points and nine assists for the Heat after missing the Thursday night’s 125-122 loss to the Portland Trail Blazers with a stomach illness. Duncan Robinson also had 20 points.
The win gives the Hornets the series tiebreaker over the Heat.
Charlotte made 12 of its first 20 shots from beyond the arc to build a 61-31 lead midway through second quarter. Monk provided a big spark off the bench with 24 points in the first half on 8-of-11 shooting, including five 3s.
Miami battled back and cut the lead to four with 28.7 seconds left in the fourth quarter behind a 15-2 run led by Bam Adabeyo and Robinson, who knocked down an off-balance 3.
After Gordon Hayward made 1 of 2 free throws, Tyler Herro scored on a layup to cut Charlotte’s lead to three with 6.6 seconds remaining. Graham made two free throws with 2.9 seconds left.
Monk had a career-high 36 points against the Heat on Feb. 1 to help Charlotte to a 129-121 overtime win.
Heat: Kendrick Nunn suffered a right ankle sprain in the first half and did not return. … Goran Dragic (back), KZ Okpala and Udonis Haslem (both health and safety protocols) also didn’t play. … Made just 10 of 20 free throws.
Hornets: Bismack Biyombo started at center again over Cody Zeller. … Charlotte had just two turnovers in the first half. … P.J. Washington left in the second half with a leg contusion. … Monk left the game briefly late in the fourth quarter but returned.
NO OLADIPO, BJELICA
Victor Oladipo and Nemanja Bjelica, who were acquired by Miami in trades Thursday, were ruled out for the game as those deals were still being approved by the league. Both players should be ready to play Monday night.
Hornets general manager Mitch Kupchak said Friday he’s not ruling out rookie point guard LaMelo Ball returning this season. Ball is expected to be re-evaluated in four or five weeks after fracturing his right wrist on March 20. If Ball is re-evaluated in five weeks on April 27, the Hornets would have about three weeks remaining before the end of the regular season on May 16, although Kupchak added that “what we’re not going to do is put his health in jeopardy.”
Heat: Visit Knicks on Monday night in another pivotal Eastern Conference matchup.
Hornets: Host Suns on Sunday, their last home game until April 11.
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