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News » Heat 97, Hornets 81

Heat 97, Hornets 81

Heat 97, Hornets 81KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - There was no home team.

Kansas fans had to choose between rooting for Julian Wright and the Hornets or Mario Chalmers and the Heat. Kansas State fans wanted to cheer for Miami because of Michael Beasley, but that also meant rooting for Chalmers, a former Jayhawk.

No one knew what to do, so they just cheered the whole time.

Beasley had 11 points and 11 rebounds in his return to the Heartland and the Heat got their first preseason victory, 97-81 over New Orleans on Thursday night at the Sprint Center.

"People didn't know who to cheer for," Chalmers said. "It was kind of a different crowd, but it was a lot of fun."

Miami (1-4) got the most out of it, winning a night after playing a tight game against Oklahoma City.

Daequan Cook added 15 points and Miami never let up after using a 17-4 run in the first and second quarters to go up 40-23. Dwyane Wade, back after missing two games with strained rib muscles, had 14 points and six assists for the Heat, who had 23 assists with just 10 turnovers.

"We're encouraged by this last week," Miami coach Erik Spoelstra said. "The last three games, there were some real positives going on. We made a big improvement tonight in moving the ball, getting the extra pass."

Nothing seemed to go right for the Hornets (1-4).

Two days after losing 121-86 to Orlando, New Orleans shot 36 percent and had more trouble guarding the perimeter, allowing Miami to shoot 9 for 21 on 3-pointers. Bobby Brown had 18 points and Wright added 12 points and nine rebounds for the Hornets, who were 4 for 23 from beyond the arc.

"Because it's a preseason game, I don't think you can read too much into it," Hornets coach Byron Scott said. "But also, from my point of view watching the game, our focus is not there. It wasn't there tonight. We made some adjustments this morning on some of the things we wanted to do and guys didn't pick them up."

The game was a homecoming of sorts for Beasley, Wright and Chalmers, drawing a crowd of 17,116 fans to the second NBA game played at the 2-year-old building.

Chalmers hit the 3-pointer with 2.1 seconds left in regulation that sent the Jayhawks into overtime against Memphis on the way to the 208 NCAA championship. Wright left Kansas after his sophomore season. Beasley broke nearly every Kansas State record as a freshman before bolting for the NBA.

All three are going to be counted on more by their current teams.

Beasley, the No. 2 overall draft pick in 2008, is trying to make the conversion from power to small forward and put behind him a monthlong stint at a drug rehabilitation center in the offseason.

The 20-year-old came into the preseason in better shape than a year ago and seems to have a better grasp on the NBA game. He shot 5 of 11 and had three assists - along with a few defensive mistakes in the post - after scoring 24 points in 38 minutes against Oklahoma City.

Chalmers started every game at point guard last season after playing as a shooting guard at Kansas. The Heat want him to take on a more assertive role in the offense and get better with his one-on-one defense, bringing in veteran point guard Carlos Arroyo to push him.

Chalmers finished with 10 points, five rebounds and five assists, including a backdoor bounce pass to Wade for a reverse dunk in the second quarter.

"I've been encouraged by both of them," Spoelstra said. "There's carryover in the things we're working on."

Wright gets his first chance to start after playing spotty minutes at three positions and averaging no more than 4.4 points in two seasons.

With six new players and 12-year veteran Peja Stojakovic coming off the bench, the Hornets moved Wright into the starting lineup, hoping to expedite his development by playing alongside All-Stars David West and Chris Paul.

Wright has had a decent preseason, averaging 6.8 points and 5.0 rebounds over the first four games. Against Miami, he was 3 of 5 from the field, made all six of his free throws and had four assists.

"It's definitely a big adjustment," Wright said of starting. "The first two years I was a reserve and even when I came in to start when guys were hurt, I was deferring to other guys, just trying not to mess up. Now, as a starter, I have to set the tone - defensively first, then offensively."

NOTES: Nearly half the front row of seats was filled with Kansas City Chiefs, including WR Dwayne Bowe, RB Larry Johnson and DT Glenn Dorsey. ... Hornets C Emeka Okafor missed his fifth straight game with a toe injury.

Author: Fox Sports
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Added: October 16, 2009


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