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Game 41: Miami Heat (21-19) vs. Charlotte Bobcats (20-19)

After a most convincing win over the Pacers last night at home, Miami now travels to North Carolina for a big matchup with division rival Charlotte.  This game is for 5th place in the standings as the Heat hold a half-game lead over the Bobcats.  I realize that it's only January and a lot of things are going to change between now and the end of the regular season as far as the standings go, but I'm sure both teams are looking at this game as a big one and want to send a message to their opponent. 

Possibly the most important part of last night's win was that Erik Spoelstra was able to rest his starters for the entire 4th quarter.  Only Michael Beasley played in the 4th, but he usually gets less minutes then the rest of the starting 5 so that is no big deal.  Not to mention...Beasley just turned 21, so he should be able to handle it.  D-Wade scored 32 points and hit 4 treys despite playing just 3 quarters.  He had 18 in the 1st quarter and as a team Miami shot 67% in the opening period against Indiana.  It was Wade's 13th 20-point half of the season. 

Miami heads into Charlotte at probably the worst time.  The Bobcats have been scorching hot at home, winning 9 straight including all 5 games on their current 6-game homestand.  They are 17-4 at home this season, and the only Eastern Conference teams to win at the Time Warner Cable Arena have been Boston and Orlando. 

The first time these teams met was earlier this month in Miami.  Remember?  Miami was up by 19 in the 1st half just to see Stephen Jackson score 35 and the Bobcats come away with a shocking comeback on our home floor.  I'm sure that is fresh in the Heat players' minds and hopefully we can get a road-team repeat, just maybe without the part of losing by 19.  I could do without the exciting comeback; as much fun as that would be, a win is a win and that's all I care about. 

GAME NOTES

  • Last night Dwyane Wade had no rebounds, just the 2nd time this year that has happened.  The last night was Dec 20th against Portland, but he made up for it that night with 28 points and 10 assists. 
  • Wade has hit 47 of the 80 shots he has taken over the last 5-games.  That's 59%.  That's pretty damn sick. 
  • More Wade: He made 4-of-6 from beyond the arc last night, hitting his first 4.  He hadn't hit a trey in his last four games, but only attempted 1 in that span.  The 4 made triples matched his season-high which came on Jan 2nd against...you guessed it...Charlotte. 
  • Despite the total domination last night, the Heat need more assists from their point guards.  Arroyo had 1, Chalmers had 2 and Rafer had 3.  Dorell Wright led the Heat with 5.  Rafer is averaging 2.9 assists in the 7 games he's played for Miami. 
  • Miami is 1-5 in the 2nd game of back-to-back's this season. 
  • Gerald Wallace is nursing an ankle injury but is listed as probable and I can't imagine that he won't play.  Tyson Chandler will miss his 13th game with a stress reaction in his left foot.
  • How appropriate is it that the Heat play their 41st game of the season (the half-way point) on a Wednesday, or 'hump-day'?  I thought that was kinda funny...

Tipoff from Time Warner Cable Arena is at 7.  Sun Sports brings us the game in HD yet again; gotta love that HD.  I don't know about you guys, but I've gotten to the point where I wont even watch something that isn't in HD (other then the rare Heat or Panthers game that isn't offered in High Def).  I wonder how long before every game is broadcast in HD...  Anyhoo, considering the emphasis that should be put on this game by the Heat players and coaches, they better not lay a stinky egg out there.