The Miami Heat got their 59th victory of the season and are just two away from matching the 1996-97 team for the best record in franchise history. Mike Miller had an NBA Finals-esque performance with an impressive 26 points largely based on his 7-11 performance beyond the arc.
Other than that, this wasn't too memorable of a victory for the best team in the NBA and part of that did have something to do with the fact that LeBron James and Dwyane Wade were joined by Ray Allen on the bench tonight. Some of it also had to do with the fact that the team allowed the cold shooting 18-58 Charlotte Bobcats to hang around just long enough to put a scare into any HEAT fan who decided to watch this one knowing the team would be a shell of its normal self.
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist led his team with 14 rebounds and 18 points, though he took 17 shots to get to that total. The rest of the starters took 50 shots...and only made 11 of them. The team as a whole shot 31.8% from the field and yes the HEAT team defense was certainly competent tonight but a lot of it also had to do with the fact that the Bobcats are the Bobcats.
Chris Bosh had a well-rounded game with 18 points, 8 rebounds and chipped in 6 assists. Norris Cole had an okay game and seemed to settle down a bit more after a shaky past couple of games but still had 4 turnovers in 21 minutes of action to go along with 5 assists and 8 points. James Jones could not take advantage of extended minutes off the bench and was only able to knock down one 3-pointer in six attempts. Chris Andersen deserves plenty of praise for his solid work on the defensive end and grabbed 8 rebounds as well.
But the night belonged to Mike Miller, who has been stashed away semi-quietly on the bench through most of the season on a very deep bench that also added Ray Allen on the offseason. Even when he missed a corner three-point attempt it was still a smart, heads-up play in which the shot clock was almost expiring with just 69 seconds remaining in the game and the Heat hanging on for dear life with just a seven point lead. With a quick catch and release, the shot clock did not expire which allowed Rashard Lewis to snag the offensive rebound and make two subsequent free throws for a little more breathing room and secure that 59th victory.