Courtney Lee produced a game-winning three-pointer with just 25 seconds left as the Charlotte Hornets stunned the Miami Heat 90-88 to move within one game of a playoff series victory on Wednesday.
Lee produced his crucial play in the dying seconds as the Hornets trailed 88-87 with Miami poised to take a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven series.
Instead, Lee grabbed a huge offensive rebound after Charlotte guard Kemba Walker missed a jumper.
Lee then held his nerve, draining a decisive three-pointer to leave the Heat’s playoff hopes hanging by a thread.
Charlotte will be at home for Friday’s Game Six, where victory would see them advance.
Marvin Williams top-scored for the Charlotte with 17 points while Al Jefferson and Walker weighed in with 14 points each. Lee finished with eight points as Charlotte notched their third win on the spin.
Miami star Dwyane Wade led the game scoring with 25 points but squandered a shot with 2.6 seconds left that would have have tied the score on Miami’s final possession.
Once again it was Lee who rescued Charlotte, blocking Wade from behind with a game-saving intervention. A furious Wade cried foul but the game officials waved away his complaints.
The Hornets were bolstered by the return of forward Nicolas Batum, who had been out for two games with a foot injury.
The 27-year-old Frenchman, normally a starter, came off the bench to score eight points in 25 minutes.
Miami also welcomed back an injury absentee, with Tyler Johnson returning for the first time since undergoing surgery on his left shoulder.
Charlotte had led 28-25 after the first quarter and retained a slender 49-47 lead at halftime.
Miami appeared to be turning the screw after opening up a 71-65 lead by the end of the third quarter.
But Lee’s late heroics turned the tide for Charlotte, who are aiming to get past the opening round of the playoffs for the first time since 2002.