We now know who will face the Charlotte Hornets in the first round of the 2016 NBA Playoffs, and that opponent will be the Miami Heat. The series will begin on Sunday afternoon at 5:30 p.m. in Miami, where Games 1 and 2 will take place. Games 3 and 4 will take place at Time Warner Cable Arena, with Game 3 being on Saturday, April 23rd at 5:30 p.m., and Game 4 at a time yet to be determined on Monday, April 25th.
This is just the second playoff appearance for the Hornets in the past three seasons, and the 10th trip overall in franchise history. Charlotte and Miami have seen each other in the playoffs two other times, with the latest coming in the 2014 Eastern Conference first round, in which Miami swept Charlotte 4-0, and back in 2001, when the Hornets swept Miami in the first round in three straight games. Overall, Charlotte’s record vs. Miami in the postseason is 3-4, and the Hornets are looking for some revenge this time around, as they look for their first playoff win since 2002.
During the regular season, Charlotte would split the season series with the Heat, with the Hornets winning 99-81 back on December 9th at “The Hive”, and coming back from 15 points down to defeat Miami 109-106 for their first win in Miami since 2010, while the Heat won the season opener on October 28th 104-94 in Miami and 98-95 back on February 5th in Charlotte.
Charlotte finished the regular season 48-34 in a three-way tie for first in the Southeast Division, as well as a four-way tie for third in the Eastern Conference. The 48 wins that were posted by the Hornets were good enough for the fifth-best single season win total in the history of Charlotte NBA basketball(since 1988-89), and the most since finishing the 1999-2000 season with a 49-33 mark. The Hornets 15-win improvement over last season’s 34 wins is the second-largest increase between 82 games in franchise history, behind a 22-win improvement which was set back in the 2013-14 campaign.
At home, the Hornets finished the home schedule with a 30-11 record at Time Warner Cable Arena, which was the third best in the Eastern Conference this season, and since the first of February, Charlotte went 25-9, posting the best record in the Eastern Conference and the third best in the NBA behind Golden State and San Antonio during that stretch.
All of the Hornets playoff games can be heard on the team’s flagship station, WFNZ-AM(610 The Fan) and throughout the Carolinas on the Hornets Radio Network. In addition to the games being nationally televised, the schedule for the local telecasts on FOX Sports Southeast, the Hornets local television right holder, will be announced at a later date.
EASTERN CONFERENCE FIRST ROUND SCHEDULE(Best-of-7)
- Game 1: Sunday at Miami(5:30 p.m., TNT)
- Game 2: Wednesday, April 20th at Miami(7:00 p.m., NBATV)
- GAME 3: Saturday, April 23rd at Time Warner Cable Arena(5:30 p.m., TNT)
- GAME 4: Monday, April 26th at Time Warner Cable Arena(TBD)
- Game 5*: Wednesday, April 27th at Miami(TBD)
- GAME 6*: Friday, April 29th at Time Warner Cable Arena(TBD)
- Game 7*: Sunday, May 1st at Miami(TBD)