Deng Guides Dominant Heat Past Hornets: Game 1

MIAMI, Sporting Alert – The Miami Heat used a record first quarter to get their 2016 playoffs campaign off to a flying start. Box Score

“I liked the energy tonight. We just have to get rested and get ready for Game 2,” Miami coach Erik Spoelstra said.

A streaking Luol Deng, who started 6 of 6 from the field and scored 14 points in the opening quarter of the game, end with 31 points in a very productive NBA playoff debut with Miami to lead the Heat to a dominating 123-91 victory over the Charlotte Hornets in their series opener on Sunday.

Deng, who helped Miami tied a franchise playoff record for points scored in any quarter, following the team’s 41 first-quarter outing, shot 11 of 13 from the floor overall, including 4 of 6 from 3-pointers to deliver his best performance in a Miami Heat shirt while setting a club record for a player on postseason debut.

The former Chicago Bulls forward also pulled down seven rebounds in his 1st #WhiteHot playoff game.

“I hated Lu for a long time. I think I just started liking him two months ago,” Dwyane Wade said of Deng.

Luol said: “As an opponent (in Chicago) I used to come in here & see all of the white, it was unbelievable. Now I’m happy to have it on my side.”

Hassan Whiteside, making his playoff debut, continued his impressive form this season by adding 21 points, 11 rebounds and blocked three shots for Miami, which set a playoffs opener franchise record for points.

“It was amazing,” he said. “I really felt at home. With my last name being Whiteside I really loved seeing all the white.”

The star center warns against getting too carried away after the blowout.

“We can’t get too high on this game,” Whiteside said. “They’re going back to the drawing board and I expect them to make adjustments.”

Wade echoed: “This was 1 game. You enjoy it in the moment but tomorrow we have to forget about it and prepare for Game 2.”

The final points total topped the 121 the team scored in the deciding game of the 2012 NBA Finals against Oklahoma City.

The Heat also knocked down a franchise playoff record 49 field goals, as Wade finished with 16 points and seven assists, and Joe Johnson and Amar’e Stoudemire each scored 11 points in the win for the Eastern Conference No. 3 seed.

Goran Dragic ended with 10 assists in the win.

Doreen Wright, back with Miami, after a very good stint playing abroad, scored eight quick points on 3 of 3 shooting, including knocking down two 3-pointers in his four-minutes of action in the fourth quarter.

Nicolas Batum paced the Hornets with 24 points, 20 of which came in the first half, and Kemba Walker, playing in his fifth career playoff game, which all came in defeats against the Heat, added 19 points for Charlotte, which never led in the game and trailed by as many as 34 points.

Game 2 of this NBA Eastern Conference series will be in Miami again on Wednesday night.

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