The Heat needed a miracle a week ago to beat the Hornets.
A week later it only needed some better fourth execution it had been lacking its past four games.
The Heat got it done like it had in most of its wins this season – collectively.
Clutch fourth quarter performances from Josh Richardson and Kelly Olynyk plus a clinching three-pointer with 4.6 seconds from Wayne Ellington helped the Heat seal a 95-91 victory over Charlotte at AmericanAirlines Arena on Saturday night.
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The Heat (28-21) swept the four-game season series with the Hornets (20-28) and won its sixth in a row against Charlotte.
The victory kept the Heat one game ahead of the Wizards for fourth place in the Eastern Conference standings. Miami is also 1 ½ games ahead of the Pacers and two ahead of both the 76ers and Bucks, which rounds out the top eight spots in the East.
After being outscored in the third quarter 30-17, the Heat held the Hornets to only 13 points in the fourth quarter.
Richardson led the Heat with 19 points and scored eight of those in the final quarter as Miami erased what was once a 15-point deficit in the third quarter. Richardson drove to the hoop, scored and completed a three-point play to put the Heat in front 92-90 with 1:21 left.
Kemba Walker, who played 41 minutes, led the Hornets with a game-high 30 points, but missed one of two free throws with 28.3 seconds left that could have tied the game. Dwight Howard finished with 20 points, 16 rebounds.
Ellington finished with 17 points and hit 4 of 11 three-pointers including the game-clincher with 4.6 left that was his 150th of the season setting a new single-season high.
Olynyk finished with 16 points, six assists and four rebounds and along with the Heat’s second unit sparked the comeback. The Heat’s reserves outscored the Hornets’ bench 47-18.
Tyler Johnson (eight points) returned to the Heat’s starting lineup on Saturday after missing the previous five games with a left ankle strain.
-Udonis Haslem did not play, but was also back with the team following the death of his longtime agent Henry Thomas early Saturday morning. Haslem missed the Heat’s previous game to visit Thomas in Chicago.