Heat rally from 15 down, top Hornets 95-91

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Heat rally from 15 down, top Hornets 95-91
Charlotte Hornets guard Nicolas Batum, center, prepares to take a shot against Miami Heat guard Josh Richardson (0) during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Saturday, Jan. 27, 2018, in Miami. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

MIAMI (AP) — Josh Richardson scored 19 points, Wayne Ellington added 17, including a 3-pointer with 4 seconds left to seal the outcome, and the Miami Heat beat the Charlotte Hornets 95-91 on Saturday night to snap a two-game slide.

The Heat trailed by 15 midway through the third, then outscored the Hornets by 19 the rest of the way.

Kelly Olynyk scored 16 points and James Johnson added 10 for Miami. The Heat went 4-0 against the Hornets this season, winning by five, six, one and four points.

Kemba Walker scored 30 points, and Dwight Howard finished with 20 points and 16 rebounds for the Hornets.

Walker had a chance to tie the game when he went to the line down by two with 30 seconds remaining, but made only the first. James Johnson corralled the rebound for Miami, the Heat called time and set up a play to run down the clock.

Charlotte gambled and didn’t foul, hoping Miami wouldn’t make a 3-pointer. It backfired, when Ellington connected from the top of the arc as the shot clock was expiring.

Miami led by as many as 10 late in the first half, then saw the lead cut to six by the break.

And the third quarter brought huge trouble.

Charlotte outscored Miami 27-4 over an eight-minute stretch of that period, the Hornets shooting 10 for 18 from the field along with 7 for 8 from the foul line during that span. Meanwhile, Miami shot 2 for 16 from the floor, 0 for 1 from the line, committed three turnovers — Charlotte scored off all three — and got outrebounded 15-7.

It was then the Hornets’ turn to fritter away a lead.

Charlotte led by 15 twice in the third, only to see that trimmed down to seven by the end of the quarter. Miami clawed within one point on four occasions in the fourth, couldn’t get over the hump on the first three, then finally got the lead back at 92-90 on a three-point play by Richardson with 1:21 left.

TIP-INS

Hornets: Howard blocked four shots, the last of those giving him 2,000 in his career. … Charlotte scored 13 points in the fourth, and missed its final five shots. … The Hornets were 28 for 35 from the foul line, compared to Miami’s 11 for 18.

Heat: Ellington now has 150 3s this season, a career-high with 33 games left. … Miami has had a different starting lineup in three consecutive games. … The Heat love weekends — they’re 17-8 on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, and 11-13 on all other days of the week. … It was the eighth time the Heat won a game this season when it did not hold a lead going into the fourth quarter.

IN MEMORY

The Heat held a pregame moment of silence for longtime agent Henry Thomas, who died Saturday. Thomas represented several Heat players over the years, including Udonis Haslem, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and Tim Hardaway. “I feel like I lost a dad,” said Haslem, who missed Thursday’s Heat game so he could be at Thomas’ bedside. Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said Thomas was part of the team’s extended family.

LATE SCRATCH

Charlotte was without Michael Carter-Williams, sidelined with a strained left shoulder. The Hornets don’t believe it’s going to be a major problem going forward. His absence provided an opportunity for rookie Malik Monk to get back into the rotation, after playing a total of 10 minutes in the Hornets’ last six games. But Monk missed all four of his shots in seven scoreless first-half minutes, and didn’t return.

UP NEXT

Hornets: Visit Atlanta on Monday, continuing a three-game trip.

Heat: Visit Dallas on Monday, starting a four-game road swing.