Hornets beat Heat behind Walker's effort, square series at 2-2
(The Sports Xchange) - Kemba Walker erupted for 34 points, including 11 straight in a decisive fourth-quarter spurt, and the Charlotte Hornets beat the Miami Heat 89-85 on Monday night to even their Eastern Conference first-round playoff series at 2-2.
Walker bounced back from a 4-of-19 shooting performance in a Game 3 win on Saturday by hitting 13-of-28 from the field and 6-of-7 from the free-throw line.
It was a game of wild momentum swings as the Hornets trailed by 11 early but took control by outscoring the Heat 29-13 in the second quarter. They led by as many as 18 in the third quarter before the Heat answered with a 17-1 run, and the game was destined to go to the final seconds from there.
The teams will head back to Miami for Game 5 on Wednesday night, with a Game 6 now assured for Friday night in Charlotte. The home team has won every game so far in the best-of-seven series.
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The Hornets also got 21 points from Jeremy Lin and 11 from Courtney Lee, whose two free throws with 4.6 seconds left gave the Hornets a four-point lead.
Joe Johnson led the Heat with 16 points, Luol Deng scored 15, and Dwyane Wade and Goran Dragic scored 12 apiece. But the Heat shot just 39.5 percent from the field and committed 17 turnovers.
Miami led 22-11 in the early going and led 26-19 after one quarter. But the Hornets dominated the second period, holding the Heat to 3-of-19 shooting in the quarter, and pulled out to a 48-39 halftime lead. Charlotte then scored the first nine points of the third quarter to push the lead to 18. Miami responded with a 17-1 run to cut the margin down to 58-56, but the Hornets built the lead back to 69-61 after three quarters.
Walker then did his magic in the fourth, scoring all seven points in a 7-0 run that allowed the Hornets to build an 83-75 lead. The Hornets then held off one last Miami comeback and Lee's two free throws with 4.6 seconds left gave the Hornets an insurmountable 89-85 lead.
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