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Heat hold off late Hornets run, take 2-0 series lead

Charlotte Hornets v Miami Heat - Game One

MIAMI, FL - APRIL 17: Dwyane Wade #3 of the Miami Heat drives on Jeremy Lin #7 of the Charlotte Hornets during Game One of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2016 NBA Playoffs at American Airlines Arena on April 17, 2016 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

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So, that unsustainable shooting on display in Miami in Game 1? Turns out it was sustainable for at least another day. The Charlotte Hornets showed more fight than they did in Sunday’s blowout loss to the Heat, keeping pace early and battling back in the fourth quarter after Miami built a big lead, but it proved not to be enough. The Heat prevailed 115-103 to take a 2-0 lead as the series prepares to head to Charlotte.

The Hornets found success early by playing through Al Jefferson, and ended the first quarter tied with the Heat. Their defense slipped in the second quarter, allowing Miami to score 43 points in the second quarter. The Heat shot 9-for-16 from three-point range as a team on the night, including three triples from Goran Dragic.

The Hornets cut the Heat’s lead from 16 to 7 in the fourth quarter, taking advantage of a four-minute Heat scoring drought with a run led by Kemba Walker, but the Heat never let it get closer than that and pulled away in the closing minutes.

Being down 2-0 isn’t ideal for the Hornets against this hot Miami team, and to make matters worse, they lost Nicolas Batum in the second half to a right ankle sprain—the same ankle he injured in the final week of the regular season. He needed to be helped to the locker room, which makes it unlikely that he’ll play when the series resumes Saturday in Charlotte. The Hornets’ chances in this series already looked grim after being outplayed through the first two games; without their most versatile wing player, it becomes even harder to see a path to a win in this series.