Hornets buck cold start, ride strong third quarter surge to pull away from slumping Heat
Kemba Walker scored nine of his 22 points in the pivotal third quarter for Charlotte. AP

THE Charlotte Hornets overcame their poor shooting and slow start with a telling third quarter surge to pull away from the Miami Heat, 91-82, at the Spectrum Center on Thursday (Friday, Manila time)

The Hornets made the pivotal turnaround from a 7-point halftime deficit with a 13-2 run late in the third quarter. Kemba Walker and Nic Batum combined for 17 points as Charlotte outscored Miami in the period, 31-17, and entered the final quarter with a 73-66 lead.

But Tyler Johnson led a Miami fightback in the fourth as the Heat got within four, 86-82, with 2:46 left. Walker, though, drilled a three on the next play to get back on top by seven while Cody Zeller swatted a Johnson layup to set up Michael Kidd-Gilchrist’s dagger with 33 seconds remaining.

Walker led the way for Charlotte with 22 points while Batum had an all-around showing with 16 markers, 13 rebounds, eight assists and three steals. Marvin Williams and Jeremy Lamb scored in double figures as well with 13 and 10 points, respectively, to help the Hornets win two straight games and improve to 19-14.

Miami has now lost three in a row and fell to 10-23 despite Josh Richardson scoring 20 points and Tyler Johnson adding 18. Heat stars Hassan Whiteside and Goran Dragic were held to single digits with eight and five markers, respectively.

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