After outscoring the Heat by 13 points in the second quarter, the Charlotte Hornets went into the third quarter of Saturday night’s home game against Miami with a 51-46 lead.
That surge of energy was quickly depleted as the Heat (34-20) went on a 35-8 scoring run in what became the Hornets’ (28-26) worst quarter of the season; Charlotte outscored Miami by four points in the 4th quarter, but the damage had already been done.
The Heat won 104-86 at the Spectrum Center, handing the Hornets their fourth straight loss during a stretch in which they suffered defeat in six of their last eight games. Notwithstanding the team’s recent struggles, Charlotte coach James Borrego remains optimistic about the team’s playoff chances.
“This is a formidable locker room. “These are good men who want to win,” Borrego explained. “It’s a tough league, and no one said it would be easy.” All you need to do is fight your way through it.
We’re going through a rough patch here, but we’ll work it out together.” A five-time NBA All-Star, Jimmy Butler, led the Heat, who are currently placed second in the Eastern League standings, with 27 points, six rebounds, and four assists on 10-of-13 shooting from the field.
Miami’s Bam Adebayo had 20 points and 12 rebounds, and Tyler Herro scored 19 points off the bench on 5-of-8 3-point shooting. Terry Rozier led the Hornets with 16 points despite shooting 38.4 percent from the field (33 of 86) and 27.8 percent from behind the arc (10 of 36) during the game.
Miles Bridges had 15 points, five rebounds, and five blocks to score. LaMelo Ball finished with 12 points and six rebounds. Gordon Hayward was held scoreless in only his second game back after missing the previous six due to both a foot injury and the NBA’s Health and Safety protocols.
The Situation During the Third Quarter
During the Hornets’ woeful third quarter, when no shots were dropping, desperation appeared to set in on the bench as James Bouknight got into a verbal spat with Borrego. An assistant coach escorted the rookie to the locker room after receiving only 14 seconds of playing time during the game.
Bridges told reporters after the game that he had spoken with Bouknight and that there were no hard feelings among the player and the coach. The incident occurred at the end of the third quarter after the Hornets had been outscored 35-8.
Bouknight appeared to argue with Borrego and was restrained by an assistant coach. After the incident, he was escorted to the locker room. “Everyone on this team adores one another,” Bridges said.
“It’s not difficult for us to stick together and come together.” I’m not concerned because I know we’ll stick together. We have to keep going. This season will have ups and downs, and we’re currently in one of them. We’re trying to get back on our feet, and I believe we will.”
The Aftermath of the Situation
Bouknight, selected 11th overall last year, lasted only 14 seconds in the contest to end the third quarter. Following the verbal altercation with Borrego, he did not return to the bench area and did not play in the fourth quarter.
This season, the 21-year-old has appeared in 25 games for the Hornets, averaging 4.8 points and 1.5 rebounds. Borrego stated that he understood Bouknight’s frustration and hinted that the incident could have been over playing time.
On Sunday, the Hornets will get the day off before hosting the Toronto Raptors (28-23) on Monday night. “We have to move onto next match and worry about it,” Ball said. “I feel like we’re a brotherhood, so let’s just pull closer, tighter, and let it all out on the court the next game.”
“He’s in a pickle,” Borrego said. “He is eager to play. That makes sense to me. That’s something I understand. He’s a kid in whom we have faith. We’ll find more minutes, more time for him.”