CHARLOTTE, N.C. – The NBA playoffs are approaching and the defending Eastern Conference champion Miami Heat are starting to play like it. Bam Adebayo had 20 points and 10 rebounds, Jimmy Butler added 18 points, eight rebounds and eight assists, and the surging Heat easily defeated the Charlotte Hornets 121-111 on Sunday night to move into sole possession of sixth place in the conference. Miami's win combined with Boston's 129-119 loss to the Portland Trail Blazers leaves the Heat (35-30) a full game ahead of the Celtics with seven games remaining. That's significant because the team that finishes in sixth automatically qualifies for the playoffs, while the teams that finish in seventh through 10th place must earn their way into the post-season via the play-in tournament. "You want to be playing your best basketball at the right time and I'm praying, I'm hoping that right now is the right time for us to being playing our best basketball," Butler said. Kendrick Nunn added 19 points and Goran Dragic had 18 for the Heat, who've won four of their last five. P.J. Washington had 21 points on 9-of-13 shooting for the Hornets (31-33), while rookie LaMelo Ball finished with 14 points,… Read full this story
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