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Heat proves to be too hot for the Hornets again

The Heat won the last matchup 117-112 in overtime on Nov. 11. This time, they won 132-115.

MIAMI — Miami hosted the Charlotte Hornets following the Miami Heat's 117-112 overtime win over Charlotte on Thursday. The Hornets hoped to sting in a win Saturday, but the Heat scorched them 132-115.

Max Strus scored 31 points, making eight 3-pointers, and the Miami Heat spoiled LaMelo Ball’s return to the Charlotte lineup. Bam Adebayo had 24 points and 15 rebounds for the Heat, who swept a two-game home series with the Hornets and got consecutive wins for only the second time this season. Charlotte lost its eighth straight, extending the longest current slide in the NBA. 

Jimmy Butler had 20 points, eight assists and seven rebounds for Miami, while Gabe Vincent scored 20 points. Miami outscored Charlotte 45-25 in the third quarter, tying the sixth-highest scoring quarter in any period in Heat history.

Ball finished with 15 points, six assists and six rebounds in 28 minutes, making his season debut after missing the first 13 games with a sprained ankle. He shot 6 of 17, 1 for 9 from 3-point range.

Terry Rozier led the Hornets with 22 points, while Kelly Oubre Jr. scored 20.

Charlotte led 59-54 late in the first half, and the next seven minutes were all Miami. The Heat outscored the Hornets 34-13 over that stretch, and Strus had 21 points in the second half.

Strus finished one point off his career high.

“I got it going early and teammates were looking for me,” Strus said.

Charlotte's next game at Orlando will be the team's last in the state of Florida this season. They tip off on Monday.

RELATED: Hornets lose 7th straight game in OT loss to Heat

On Thursday, the Hornets uncharacteristically had a great fourth quarter and tied the game after falling behind by 12 points to force overtime. Miami performed just a bit better in the extra period, though, before a traveling call eliminated Charlotte's last real shot at the game. Miami won 117-112.

Charlotte's only lead before the fourth quarter came on the game's first points with Oubre sinking a 3-pointer to give the Hornets an early lead. The Heat took over from there, though, by going on runs of 8-0 and 7-0 throughout the quarter to give themselves a 32-27 after the first period.

MORE NEWS: Here's a look at the Hornets new City Edition uniforms, court for 2022-2023 season

More of the same happened in the second quarter. The Heat led by as much as 10 points before heading into halftime with a 58-50 lead.

During Charlotte's losing streak, the team has been plagued with weak second-half performances following decent first halves. When the Hornets only put up 23 points in the third quarter and trailed 85-73 heading into the final period, it seemed to be more of the same story.

Then, the Hornets exploded on a 17-4 run that gave them a 90-89 lead with just under seven minutes to go. Efficient shooting from P.J. Washington and Jalen McDaniels, among others, made the comeback possible along with several missed shots by the Heat.

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