Charlotte Hornets guard Kemba Walker (15) goes to the basket as Miami Heat guard Gerald Green (14) defends in the first half of Wednesday’s season opener at Miami. Alan Diaz AP
Charlotte Hornets guard Kemba Walker (15) goes to the basket as Miami Heat guard Gerald Green (14) defends in the first half of Wednesday’s season opener at Miami. Alan Diaz AP

Charlotte Hornets

Hornets fall to Heat in season opener

By Rick Bonnell

rbonnell@charlotteobserver.com

October 28, 2015 10:18 PM

MIAMI

For all the change this off-season, one thing about the Charlotte Hornets seemed disturbingly familiar Wednesday:

They can’t get their act together when facing the Heat in Miami.

The Hornets, who lost 104-94, had a brutal second quarter, shooting just 35 percent from the field and being outscored 31-17. They never recovered from those 12 minutes in a season-opening loss at American Airlines Arena.

The Hornets gave up far too many layups defensively and couldn’t make 3-pointers, despite all the roster moves intended to improve shooting.

The Hornets play another road game against a Southeast Division rival Friday, when they face the Atlanta Hawks at Philips Arena.

Three who mattered

Al Jefferson: He made Hassan Whiteside look silly often with his post moves. Weight loss was evident when he finished a fast break in the first half.

Jeremy Lin: He’s playing with a confidence and aggression that he didn’t get much chance to express last season with the Los Angeles Lakers.

Dwyane Wade: He made new Hornets starter P.J. Hairston’s life rough playing defense.

Observations

▪  Coach Steve Clifford chose to start Marvin Williams at power forward, but both Williams and Cody Zeller played starter-type roles, particularly since Williams swings to small forward, too.

▪  Jeremy Lamb (ankle) and Troy Daniels (hamstring) both missed the game. Lamb is close to a return; if he practices effectively Thursday he might play against the Hawks.

▪  Heat scored 30 points in the lane by halftime. I can see why the Hornets had misgivings about Bismack Biyombo, but they never replaced him as a rim-protector.

▪  Clifford might be playing one more big man than the rotation can really sustain, but he’s determined to find rookie Frank Kaminsky minutes.

▪  Hairston starting doesn’t necessarily mean he will play a lot. His shooting will weigh in on his playing time.

Worth mentioning

▪  Gastonia’s Whiteside, who makes less than $1 million this season, is hoping for a major contract extension next summer.

▪  Clifford said he likes how Zeller performs with reserves Lin and Spencer Hawes.

▪  Miami might be the one spot in the NBA where DJ’s are introduced to the crowd as celebrities.

Report card

C-minus OFFENSE: The 3-point shooting didn’t look improved, despite all the off-season moves to address it.

D DEFENSE Until the Hornets start getting back in transition consistently they won’t be the defense they were last two seasons.

C COACHING: Clifford has diagnosed the problems, now he has to implement correction in practice Thursday.

Bonnell: 704-358-5129; Twitter: @rick_bonnell

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