Miami at New Orleans

Okafor helps lead Hornets past hamstrung Heat

CBSSports.com wire reports
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NEW ORLEANS -- The stars were out in the Big Easy.

Out of the lineup, that is.

Miami sat Dwyane Wade and LeBron James, who were both nursing hamstring pulls. David West missed his second successive game for New Orleans with a sprained right wrist.

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First-year New Orleans guard Marco Belinelli wound up seizing the spotlight, scoring eight of his 19 points in the fourth quarter to help the Hornets beat the Heat 90-76 on Wednesday night for their first preseason victory.

"It was a situation where our bench could have folded tonight," Hornets coach Monty Williams said. "Marco went back in there and did some good things."

Wade has been out of action since hurting his right hamstring in Miami's first exhibition game. James also was resting his right hamstring, which tightened up Tuesday night during a game in Miami against Russian club CSKA Moscow.

The left Chris Bosh as the only member of Miami's All-Star triumvirate to suit up. He led Miami (2-2) with 24 points, 20 of which he scored in the third quarter to help Miami erase a 16-point halftime deficit and briefly take the lead.

"I like how we established Chris on the low post," Miami coach Erik Spoelstra said. "Chris is a multiyear All-Star that has Olympic experience and is a very unselfish player. I want out proven shooters to step up and take good shots."

The game gave Bosh a chance to take a leading scoring role and he said he was not terribly concerned about missing out on time in the preseason to mesh with James and Wade.

"Once those guys come back it's just going to be business as usual in my opinion," Bosh said. "We all know how to play basketball. Dwyane, he's been here for seven years so it's pretty much the same plays that they've been running for a long time. He's going to know where to get his shots, where to be on defense. And LeBron, he's a pretty smart basketball player."

Wade and James both sat on the bench in warmups but were off-limits to reporters during regular media availability before and after the game.

Emeka Okafor scored 15 points for the Hornets (1-2).

James Jones had 15 points for Miami and Mike Miller 11.

New Orleans led 45-29 at halftime with the help of 11 points each from Belinelli and Emeka Okafor.

Bosh's third-quarter surge helped Miami climb back in front and Miller's 3 put the Heat up 63-61 late in the period.

Miami led 70-65 after Jones' 3, then Hornets guard Willie Green responded with a short pull-up to spark a decisive 21-2 New Orleans run. Belinelli scored seven points during the spurt, hitting one of his three 3-pointers in the game. Green scored all 10 of his points in the fourth quarter.

With West out, Jason Smith started at forward for New Orleans and scored 13 points and eight rebounds.

Although the game won't count in the regular season standings, it was a gratifying win for the Hornets, who responded to a 135-81 loss in Orlando on Sunday by getting Williams his first victory since he took his first NBA head coaching job this past summer.

"It's always good to get a win. You've got to see what it feels like," said Hornets guard Chris Paul, who had seven points and seven assists in 28 minutes. "It does no good if you go into a regular season and don't even know what it's like to win a game or have to hold on in the end."

Notes

The Hornets shot 47.4 percent from 3-point range (9 of 19). ... Belinelli is shooting 70 percent (7 of 10) from 3-point range in the preseason, with 3s in all three preseason games. ... The Heat turned the ball over 20 times. ... Heat F Udonis Haslem led all rebounders with 11, and the Heat outrebounded the Hornets 39-37.

Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
 
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Dwyane Wade and LeBron James seem to be enjoying themselves while giving their ailing hamstrings a rest.  (US Presswire)
Dwyane Wade and LeBron James seem to be enjoying themselves while giving their ailing hamstrings a rest. (US Presswire)

Scoreboard
Miami 2-21613361176
New Orleans 1-2 «2718192690
MIA: Pts
MIA: Reb
MIA: Ast
NO: Pts
NO: Reb
NO: Ast
Other Games
NJ 81 Final
Hou 91
Dal 101 Final
Det 96
Min 86 Final
Ind 98
Phi 116 Final
Tor 119
Bos 104 Final
NY 101
Sac 95 Final
LAL 98