MIAMI - For one quarter the Hornets looked like the team that shined during the preseason. Then old habits returned.
The Miami Heat opened up a 20-point lead in the second half and withstood a late rally to defeat Charlotte, 104-94, at American Airlines Arena Wednesday in the season opener for both teams.
It was Charlotte’s 14th straight loss, including playoffs, in Miami
Kemba Walker finished with a team-best 19 points for Charlotte. Al Jefferson added 17 but was limited to only eight minutes of action after halftime, and none in the fourth quarter. Jeremy Lin also scored 17 in the loss.
In his return to the court after missing much of last season with a blood clot, Chris Bosh led the Heat with 21 points. Dywane Wade tallied 20 points, and Gerald Green added 19 off the bench.
The Hornets scored only 33 points in the second and third quarters combined after finishing with 27 in the first period. Charlotte led by seven in the second quarter before Miami used a 26-6 run to take control of the contest.
Charlotte had one last run late in the fourth quarter to cut the deficit to five but Luol Deng buried a three-pointer with less than 40 seconds remaining to seal the win. The Heat made 12-of-20 from behind the arc in the contest.
After averaging over nine threes per contest during the preseason, Charlotte shot 6-of-24 (25 percent) on Wednesday.
The Hornets will next travel to Georgia for a matchup against the defending Southeast Division champion Atlanta Hawks on Friday. Tipoff at Phillips Arena is set for 8 p.m.
Follow The Hornets Insider on Twitter (@hornetsinsider) and on Facebook