Miami Heat Are East’s Ultimate Dark Horse When They Play to Their Potential

April 17th, 2016 by Zach Buckley Leave a reply »

MIAMI — This was the Miami Heat team that excites fans, intrigues analysts and perhaps frightens potential playoff foes.

Its 123-91 series-opening victory over the sixth-seeded Charlotte Hornets was less a dominant performance and more a museum-quality masterpiece. Its offense simultaneously clicked on all levels. Its defense squeezed so tight that it was sometimes hard to spot Charlotte's trademark teal threads amid Miami's white-clad defenders.

"We knew it was time to play Miami Heat basketball," Hassan Whiteside said after posting 21 points, 11 rebounds, three blocks and two steals in his playoff debut. "It was going to start with our defense, and defense led to offense."


Heat Flash Dominant Upside from Beginning Both offense and defense came early and often during a first quarter that was nearly played to perfection. Before the Hornets had broken a sweat, the Heat had broken open a 9-1 advantage.

By the end of the first period, the Hornets already looked shell-shocked. Miami dominated every statistical category: 41-22 in points, 68.2-38.5 in field-goal percentage, 11- ...

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