CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Tyler Johnson and Wayne Ellington came off the bench to score 16 points apiece, and the Miami Heat beat the Charlotte Hornets 104-98 on Friday night at the Spectrum Center.
The Heat (14-14) built a 17-point lead in the fourth quarter and then held off a Charlotte rally in the final six minutes. The Hornets got as close as two in the final two minutes, but Dion Waiters hit a 15-footer with 1:08 left to push the lead to 102-98. Goran Dragic later hit two free throws with 9.0 seconds remaining to push the lead to six.
Waiters finished with 12 points on a night when the Heat shot an even 50 percent from the field. Josh Richardson, James Johnson, Kelly Olynyk and Bam Adebayo scored 11 points each.
The Hornets (10-18) have now lost nine of their last 11 games. They were loudly booed in the fourth quarter when they fell behind by 17, the first time this season that the Spectrum Center crowd has turned on them.
Kemba Walker led the Hornets with 25 points. Dwight Howard had 15 points and 16 rebounds. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist scored 13, Jeremy Lamb 12 and Frank Kaminsky 10.
The Heat led 24-19 after one quarter, 53-47 at halftime, and 79-71 after three quarters. The biggest lead came at 94-77.
NOTES: The Heat won the only previous game between the teams this season, 105-100 in Miami on Dec. 1. They will meet two more times. ... The Heat were without C Hassan Whiteside (left knee bone bruise), F Justise Winslow (left knee strain), G Rodney McGruder (left tibia surgery) and F Okara White (left foot surgery). ... The Hornets were without F Cody Zeller (left knee surgery). ... The Hornets are now 2-5 since coach Steve Clifford left the team to deal with an unspecified health issue. There is still no time frame for Clifford’s return. ... Both teams were coming off Wednesday losses. The Heat lost to Portland 102-95 at home, while the Hornets lost at Houston 108-96. ... The Heat have been better on the road this season (9-7) than at home (5-7). ... The Hornets were opening a four-game home stand. They will host Portland on Saturday night. ... The Heat will return home to face the Los Angeles Clippers on Saturday night.