Nba preseason | Hornets 96, Heat 89

Miami Heat falls to New Orleans Hornets in final preseason game, looks to season opener


The Heat muddled through its final preseason game, as the focus turned to the Celtics and the regular-season opener.

Friday night was the dress rehearsal. On Tuesday, the banners go up, the rings come out and the defending NBA champions begin the season against the Boston Celtics.

The Heat played its final game of the preseason Friday night at AmericanAirlines Arena, losing to the New Orleans Hornets 96-89. Training camp lasted a month but, with a trip to China right smack in the middle of it, it actually felt much longer.

Miami went 4-4 in exhibition games.

Highlights from the Heat’s preseason included but were not limited to:

• Ray Allen checking into his first game in a Heat uniform.

• Dwyane Wade’s successful return from offseason knee surgery.

• LeBron James’ chopsticks competition against children in Shanghai. Yes, LeBron won, because he wins at everything — even chopsticks competitions against the Chinese.

• Mike Miller, letting it fly from three-point range. He was 9 of 15 from distance.

• The audacity of Mario Chalmers and his brilliant signature shoes (Spaldings).

• Shane Battier scorching the nets throughout. He finished (15 of 30) from three-point range.

• Udonis Haslem, in his first game back from injury, taking an off-the-ball charge with three minutes left in a meaningless game in Kansas City.

• Norris Cole’s absurd numbers from three-point range. He was 9 of 11 from distance in the preseason.

On Tuesday, all that will be forgotten, the slate will be wiped clean and defending champs will begin the long 82-game season before the real season, the postseason. While Miami will be the favorites to win the crown in June, there is plenty of room for improvement.

A few of the troublesome trends that need addressing entering the season:

• The Heat averaged 22 turnovers in the three contests entering Friday’s exhibition. The Heat had 17 giveaways against the Hornets, including four from Wade in the first quarter.

Of course, Wade wasn’t the sloppiest with the ball this preseason. That dubious distinction went to Cole. The second-year point guard finished the preseason with more turnovers (22) than assists (16).

Then there was Allen. His turnover numbers (16 in eight games) were high for a veteran.

Mistakes led to Friday’s loss. The night can be summed up in one play:

Down by two points in the third quarter, Dwyane Wade did well to intercept a nervous pass by Al-Farouq Aminu that led to a break. But Wade missed his layup attempt and, moments later, LeBron James missed on his put-back dunk attempt.

James finished with 19 points on 8 of 17 shooting to go along with eight rebounds and four assists. Wade had 15 points on 7 of 19 shooting. Chris Bosh, who was the Heat’s best player this preseason, had 21 points and 10 rebounds in 34 minutes.

The game was exhibition but it seemed anything but meaningless in final minutes. Wade and Bosh were on the court chasing the comeback that never.

Anthony Davis, the Hornets’ No. 1 draft pick, was a revelation on Friday. He finished the game with 24 points and 11 rebounds in 36 minutes of work. The rookie was 11 of 18 from the field and gave the Heat’s interior defense fits throughout the game. Davis, at 6-10, can run the floor just as easily as he can take on double teams in the paint.

Miller nailed a barrage of three three-pointers in the fourth quarter to give the Heat an 81-78 lead, but the Hornets answered with a three-pointer from Ryan Anderson and determined play from Davis and Greivis Vasquez (18 points and 10 assists).

Of course, in the end, the Heat’s failed comeback was inconsequential. James wasn’t even in the game in the fourth quarter.

He was barely paying attention during the preseason’s final quarter, already focused on the Celtics and the start of the regular season.

Read more Top Sports Stories stories from the Miami Herald

Washington Wizards forward Al Harrington (7) guards Miami Heat forward Michael Beasley (8) in the second half of an NBA basketball game, Monday, April 14, 2014, in Washington. The Wizards won 114-93.


    Miami Heat still non-committal on Michael Beasley, Greg Oden

    Even with at least three roster spots to fill, the Heat continues to be non-committal with free agents Michael Beasley and Greg Oden, with the team neither closing the door on a return in conversations with their agents nor offering them a contract to this point, either.

Miami Dolphins coach Joe Philbin in the fourth quarter against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field on Sunday, Dec. 8, 2013.


    Armando Salguero: Joe Philbin optimistic about Miami Dolphins despite skeptics

    Joe Philbin welcomes a visitor with a warm smile and firm handshake and for the next 30 minutes enthusiastically talks about his Dolphins with a confidence that belies the coach’s first two seasons in Miami.

St. Louis Rams seventh-round draft pick Michael Sam listens to a question during a news conference at the NFL football team's practice facility Tuesday, May 13, 2014, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)


    Greg Cote: Michael Sam is a distraction to embrace, not avoid

    It’s no surprise that Tony Dungy’s comments this week about Michael Sam – comments that on the surface seemed more benign than inflammatory – have created such a national tempest. Sports are a Petri dish for argument and debate under any circumstances, and when you add the politics of religion and gay issues to the mix, the chances of a quietly civil discussion have pretty much left the building.

Miami Herald

Join the

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category