The Miami Heat had every opportunity to use Monday as a stepping stone.
Instead, they ended up taking yet another step back.
The Heat blew two double-digit, late fourth-quarter leads in a 129-121 loss to the Charlotte Hornets. Miami is now 1-3 on the six-game homestand and had its hopes of winning consecutive games for the second time this season squashed.
"We had a couple good looks at it," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. "I thought we made at least, with roughly two-minutes to go, some good looks. We just couldn’t get them to drop. That might have given us a little more separation. At the end of the day, if you get a double-digit lead, you have to find a way to get stops to finish it off and we weren’t able to do that.”
The loss spoiled the returns of Tyler Herro, Goran Dragic and Avery Bradley, who were all back in the lineup after missing games because of injuries or illness. Jimmy Butler led the Heat with 25 points, nine rebounds and five assists while fellow All-Star Bam Adebayo finished with 23 points and nine rebounds.
When they excel together, it usually equates to a victory for the Heat. This time, they were unable to close when it counted.
"We have to get stops," Adebayo said. "That’s the bottom line. You can play as much offense as you want, but you have to get stops.”
The Heat return to the court Wednesday against the Washington Wizards at 8 p.m.
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