Advertisement

Heat unable to rally from 18 down, fall 89-85 in Charlotte for 2-2 series tie

Heat lose Game 4 to the Hornets to tie the series 2-2

This time there again was a stunning road collapse, just like the previous road game of this series, just like regular-season road finale that created this best-of-seven first-round NBA playoff series.

But this time there also was pushback from the Miami Heat against the Charlotte Hornets after the deficit reached 18 early in the second half.

Advertisement

Just not enough.

And so, after dominance in the first two games of this series at AmericanAirlines Arena, the Heat now find themselves in a 2-2 series tie after Monday night's 89-85 loss to the Hornets at Time Warner Cable Arena.

"We put ourselves in position," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said of his team pushing back into contention in the game.

"We just didn't make the final plays," Heat guard Dwyane Wade said.

There now not only will be an 8 p.m. Wednesday Game 5 at AmericanAirlines Arena, but also now a Friday Game 6 back in Charlotte.

On a night the Heat spent the latter stages in scramble mode, turning to everyone from Gerald Green to Dorell Wright to Udonis Haslem, there ultimately was no catching back up, not with Kemba Walker scoring a career playoff high 34 points for the Hornets Jeremy Lin adding 21 for the Hornets.

"He's a handful in the pick-and-rolls," Wade said of Walker. "There's only so much you can do with the little guy."

Walker's 34 were the most ever by a Charlotte player in a playoff game.

"You just have to find a way to overcome it." Spoelstra said of Walker.

And, so, on a night Heat center Hassan Whiteside clearly was limited by a bruised right hip and Wade struggled with his shot, the Heat came up short.

"This felt more throwback, old-school Eastern Conference basketball," Spoelstra said of the 48-minute grind.

And of the series' first competitive game in the final minutes, Spoelstra said, "This is what you ultimately, probably what you can expect."

Whiteside, held out of practice a day earlier, finished with eight points and seven rebounds.

"We missed some shots," Whiteside said. "They've got to come to South Beach."

Advertisement

But Whiteside also was not happy with the whistle, with foul trouble for himself and point guard Goran Dragic ultimately limiting the Heat.

"I looked like the flop-offs to me," Whiteside said, instead of the playoffs.

Wade closed 4 of 11 from the field.

"We have to find a way to carry this defense on the road," said Hornets coach Steve Clifford, whose team limited the Heat to .395 shooting and forced 17 turnovers that led to 18 Hornets points. The Hornets also held the Heat without a single fast-break point.

After all of the Heat's rallies, Walker stepped up with a jumper, a pair of free throws and a 3-pointer with 4:58 left as part of a personal 7-0 run and an 83-75 Hornets lead.

The Heat later moved within 85-80 on a Joe Johnson 3-pointer with 3:29 to play only to have it matched by a Walker 19-foot jumper for an 87-80 Hornets lead.

A pair of Wade jumpers then drew the Heat within 87-84.

Finally, with 31.1 seconds to play, Whiteside got to the line for a pair of free throws, making just the first of two free throws, to draw the Heat within 87-85.

The Heat then forced a Walker miss after a near shot-clock violation, but the Hornets controlled the rebound, with Courtney Lee controlling the rebound and then fouled.

Lee made both free throws for an 89-85 Charlotte lead with 4.6 seconds to play, effectively ending it.

"That was just a crazy bounce," Whiteside said of the rebound.

The Heat got a better sense of what's potentially ahead with the NBA on Monday announcing the scheduling plans for the second round.

Should Heat-Hornets and Indiana Pacers-Toronto Raptors both end in six or fewer games, then the Eastern Conference semifinal series they feed into would open Sunday. Should either Heat-Hornets or Raptors-Pacers go seven games, then a potential second-round series for the Heat would open next Tuesday, May 3.

The Heat would be the road team against Toronto and the home team against the Pacers. The Raptors-Pacers series is tied 2-2 going into their Tuesday Game 4 in Toronto.

Of course, that's if the Heat can find a way to win two more games in this series.

For all the Heat endured to that stage, they pulled within 76-75 with 6:07 to play on a jumper by Green, who was not inserted for the first time until the start of the fourth quarter and only after Wright had been given his first meaningful NBA minutes since returning from China.

The Heat's surge came with Haslem on the court, as well, as Whiteside sat with foul trouble.

With Dragic called for his fifth foul early in the fourth, Green was summoned for the first time, with Wade back in the Heat locker room at the time, getting an ankle re-taped.

Wade finally returned with 7:42 to play and the Heat down 76-69.

After being outscored 9-0 at the start of the third period, the Heat saw their deficit climb to 18.

But this time the Heat's veterans stepped back up, including Johnson, with the Heat putting together a 17-1 run to trim what had been a 57-39 deficit to 58-56.

The trouble was Dragic was called for his fourth foul amid the rally and then Whiteside was called for his fourth foul shortly after the surge, with 4:36 left in the third.

After the Heat moved within one, the Hornets then closed the third quarter with a 7-0 run to go into the fourth up 69-61.

The Heat had another of their road moments in the second period, and it was particularly ugly, as the Hornets turned what had been an 11-point deficit into an 11-point lead before going into halftime up 48-39.

The Heat shot 3 of 19 in the second period, with a 21-4 Charlotte run in the period doing similar damage to the 18-0 run the Hornets put together in Saturday's Game 3 victory that put them in position for this tie in the series.

The Heat's desperation reached the point of Spoelstra inserting both Wright and Haslem in the second period. That meant playing Wright ahead of Green and Haslem ahead of Josh McRoberts.

In fact, the only active players for the Heat not to see action the second period for the Heat were Green, McRoberts and Briante Weber.

After building an early 11-point advantage, the Heat took a 26-19 lead into the second period, with nine assists on their first 11 baskets.

iwinderman@tribpub.com. Follow him at twitter.com/iraheatbeat or facebook.com/ira.winderman

Advertisement
Advertisement