Did the Heat shoot too many three-pointers vs. Hornets?

MIAMI — The Heat reached a mark they rarely hit in Friday’s loss to the Hornets.

Miami shot 34 threes in a 97-91 loss to Charlotte. The Heat have attempted 34 or more threes in just seven other regular-season games since the 2000-01 season.

With the Hornets using a defensive scheme to limit the Heat’s paint points, the threes were usually open for Miami to take. And the Heat took them, finishing 14-of-34 from three-point range.

Charlotte’s defense effectively pushed the Heat’s offense away from the basket. The Heat finished Friday’s loss with 28 paint points after recording 74 paint points against the Magic in the season opener.

James Johnson #16 of the Miami Heat shoots during a game against the Charlotte Hornets at American Airlines Arena on October 28, 2016 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

James Johnson #16 of the Miami Heat shoots during a game against the Charlotte Hornets at American Airlines Arena on October 28, 2016 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

With other opponents expected to use a similar defensive strategy against Miami, is the solution just to keep taking threes?

“It’s whether they’re open, in rhythm, within the context of what we’re trying to do,” coach Erik Spoelstra said Saturday when asked the question. “But we knew that against Charlotte, they’re committed to having five guys in the paint. You’re going to have to make them pay for that kind of defense, but they have to be the right kind of shots. A lot of our threes in the first half were the right kinds of shots regardless of whether they went in or not. In the second half, a few of them were more contested and our drives were a little bit more forced to try to get into the paint.”

It’s not like the Heat were effective when they did get into the congested paint area against the Hornets’ defense.

Miami made 9-of-28 shots (32.1 percent) that came from within five feet of the basket against Charlotte. Most of those shots did not come in the rhythm of the offense with players forcing their way into the paint, as only two of the nine makes came off assists.

“If you understand basketball then you know they aren’t going to give a lot of points in the paint,” point guard Goran Dragic said. “Everybody is inside the paint and then we spread the ball, and most of those shots were open shots. We take the best available shot that we got at that time and most of those were threes. It’s their game. You can’t force it to try to score inside the paint because if you look at the tape, all five guys were inside the paint.”

[Heat center Hassan Whiteside to bring back jump shot at free-throw line]

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