The Charlotte Hornets, owners of the third best record in the NBA since the All-Star break, overcame a 15-point second-quarter deficit to take down the Miami Heat 109-106 Thursday night.

Al Jefferson and Kemba Walker each scored 21 points for the visitors.

Charlotte has won 15 of its last 18 games.

Per the AP:

“Day by day, try to get better, good shootaround, have a good practice, film session,” said Charlotte coach Steve Clifford, whose team endured a seven-game slide earlier this season. “That’s the way you have to do it. I believe we have the right kind of guys. They’re serious minded and I think our approach is good right now.”

 

The Hornets have won 15 of their last 18 games, and there’s barely no separation between four teams in the race for the No. 3 spot in the East. Atlanta (40-29) won Tuesday to move a half-game ahead of No. 4 Boston, No. 5 Miami and No. 6 Charlotte — who are all 39-29, yet the Celtics and Heat currently hold tiebreaker edges. […] “It’s fun now,” Walker said. “It’s a race. It’s a battle.”

 

Miami had a shot to force overtime, but Dwyane Wade’s open 3-pointer was short and time expired. Luol Deng scored 22 points for the Heat, while Josh Richardson scored 18 and Hassan Whiteside added 17 for Miami, which has now dropped 10 games this season in which it held a lead of 10 points or more. […] “This is a good team and they’ve been playing very well,” Wade said. “This is kind of Eastern Conference playoff basketball. You know there’s going to be highs and lows throughout the game.”