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NBA Playoffs -- Deng drops 31, too much Heat grounds Hornets


PhilBoxing.com




MIAMI- When Loul Deng signed a two-year contract with the Heat ​in July of 2014,​ the ​former Chicago Bull ​expected an annual playoff​s​ trip​.​ But injuries to several key players last season derailed​ those expectations.

​On Sunday night at a sold-out AmericanAirlines Arena, Deng, an 11-year veteran, savored the sweetness of a postseason win when the Miami Heat dominated the Charlotte Hornets, 123-91, in Game 1 of their opening round series.

Deng ​led all scorers with 31 points ​plus ​seven rebounds​​ while Hassan Whiteside added 25 points and 11 boards as both were spectacular in their first playoff appearances in a Heat uniform.

"I thought we did a good job of just moving the ball," Deng spoke to the media after ​a sterling performance in which he drilled 4-of-6 triples. "I just knew that they liked to take away the paint. If you're not excited to play in a game like that, then you don't love the game​,​"​ Deng added.​

Miami outscored the Hornets ​56​-​36 ​in the paint and the Heat ​shot an astonishing 56 % from the field including ​a franchise playoffs record ​41 ​first quarter points.​

The Hornets,​ meanwhile​,​ have now lost ​five​ straight playoff ​against the Heat.​

"Whether you lose by 30 or one, it's 1-0," Hornets' head-coach Steve Clifford said. "So we lost one game. "If Deng and Whiteside are going to combine for those numbers ​then it's going to be hard for us to win."

Nicolas Batum notched 24 points and Kemba Walker added 19 points for the visitors.

"We made a lot of mistakes," Walker said. "Coach gave us an awesome game plan and we just completely went against it. We didn?t do what he told us to do. That?s not really us. We?re usually the team that plays mistake free. Tonight, that wasn?t the case. They played extremely well as well, but we definitely made a lot of mistakes."

Game 2 of the series is Wednesday night ​at ​the ​AmericanAirlines Arena.

Photo: Luol Deng sparked the Heat with 31 points to lead Miami over the Hornets in Game 1 of the opening round of the playoffs​.


Click here to view a list of other articles written by Roman David Garay.


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