Use this post as your Open Game Thread.
After a nice long layoff, the Heat get back to work tonight with preseason game number 6 of 8. They'll host the Charlotte Bobcats who boast a 1-4 preseason record and are battling to grab some attention in a division full of power. They have a couple of very talented players on their roster in Gerald Wallace and Stephen Jackson, but I think the wild card could be DJ Augustin.
The 3rd year point guard is looking to embrace the starters role and has done a decent job distributing the ball during the preseason thus far. Meanwhile, tonight's game will be the first in the ‘home stretch' of the preseason for Miami. They play the final three games on their schedule this week, all of which are against division opponents.
Tonight will be the final opportunity for fans to see the Heat play at the AAA until the home opener next Friday (the 29th). They'll wrap up the preseason with back-to-back games on Thursday at Atlanta and Friday against Orlando, but that one will be played in St. Petersburg at the St. Pete Times Forum.
- LeBron James will return to the starting lineup for the Heat tonight after missing their last game nursing a sore hamstring.
- Heat fans could get a good look at James and Chris Bosh tonight. Erik Spoelstra is hoping to get them both a good amount of minutes, but it ultimately depends on "the flow of the game."
- Dwyane Wade though will not be in Miami for the game tonight. He's still in Chicago dealing with custody issues involving his two children and ex-wife. Even if he were here he wouldn't be able to play but is still on target to return for the season opener in Boston next Tuesday.
- Mario Chalmers practiced fully on Sunday and will hopefully be in the lineup tonight, though he's officially listed as questionable.
- Coach Spo is also hoping to get Carlos Arroyo and Eddie House some game action this week. Both practiced on Sunday, and while Arroyo has played some in the preseason it will be House's first action in a Heat uniform since 2003. Eddie has said to be targeting Thursday's game in Atlanta as a return date.
- The Heat went 1-3 against the Bobcats last season, failing to crack 80 points in 3 of the games. One of the losses included a 104-65 embarrassment in Charlotte on January 20th.
Tipoff from the AAA is set for 7:30. The game will be broadcast locally on Sun Sports. Also worth checking out is the Inside The Heat: Preseason Special immediately following the game. Highlights will include a recap of all the free agent signings, an interview with Coach Spoelstra, behind the scenes footage from training camp and media day and much much more.
Finally, for those of you with Dish Network...its not looking good for you to see Heat games this season. They allowed their agreement with Fox to expire and aren't actively negotiating for a new deal. This is a real shame and I'm really surprised that they aren't trying to get this resolved. It doesn't only impact Heat (and Panthers) fans in South Florida...everywhere in the country people will be missing their local Fox Sports channels, as well as FX and other Fox channels.
Mario Chalmers will not play tonight. Carlos Arroyo will start but won't play a lot of minutes, so that means more time for Patrick Beverly and Kenny Hasbrouck.