Charlotte Hornets win first playoff game in 14 years

The Charlotte Hornets finally won a playoff game on Saturday night, ending a 14 year losing streak for the franchise.

The Hornets entered Saturday night’s game down 0-2 against the Miami Heat in the first round of Eastern Conference playoffs. In game 1, Charlotte struggled to contain Miami’s small forward Luol Deng, who put up 31 points and 7 rebounds. In game 2, shooting guard Dwyane Wade (28 points) and center Hassan Whiteside (17 points, 13 rebounds) led the Heat in their 115-103 victory over Charlotte.

The Hornets battled back on Saturday and defeated the Heat 96-80. This marked the team’s first playoff win since May 2002. So what changes were made to help lift the Hornets over the Heat? According to coach Steve Clifford, he was approached by team owner Michael Jordan and assistant coach Patrick Ewing, who suggested he post up rookie 7-footer Frank Kaminsky more.

“When you have two first-ballot Hall of Famers…and they both say, ‘Post Frank,’” Clifford joked, “you have to post Frank.” (Associated Press)

Kaminsky scored nine of his 15 points during an 18-0 run in the third quarter that allowed the Hornets to take a commanding lead over the Heat. Jeremy Lin (18 points) and Kemba Walker (17 points) also played big for the Hornets. Marvin Williams, who has been relatively quiet in the playoffs, contributed 12 points and 14 rebounds in Saturday’s win.

While Charlotte’s standout guard, Nic Batum recovers from a sprained left ankle, the team will have to find consistency offensively and make big defensive stops if they want to remain in this series.

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