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LeBron James scores 33, Mike Miller sprains ankle in loss to Bobcats

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I'm starting to see a trend.  Every game it seems like you hear about Chris Bosh and LeBron James playing well, the same way that you hear about D-Wade doing his dominant thing game in and game out.  I cant wait for the season to start so we can see what the three of these guys can do on the court together, but its nice to still have something to look forward to.  Just like Christmas morning, you know its going to be awesome but there is still that feeling of unknown, just in a good way. 

After a little bit of a slow start in which LeBron James went 0-for-3, Chris Bosh got the Heat going offensively, scoring the teams first 6 points.  James then got into ‘attack' mode, so when the Heat made their first subs late in the 1st quarter they brought in Udonis Haslem and James Jones, going with a lineup that had no true point guard. 

That only lasted about two minutes though because Patrick Beverly came into the game, but it seems like Coach Spo is figuring out different ways to get his players going.  James had missed a few jumpers but got his game going when he began to attack, with the spark coming off of a pair of steals in which he went coast-to-coast and finished both times.  

After Mike Miller drilled a trey at the beginning of the 2nd quarter, the Heat went cold, especially from deep.  On one possession they missed three consecutive triples, but the attempts were thanks to a pair of offensive rebounds from Big Z.  It's really quite impressive how a guy with his size can move around so well...and have such range with his jumper. 

Following a Carlos Arroyo steal, he made a great pass on the other end to Udonis Haslem who filled the rim, ending the Heats mini-scoreless skid and giving them back the lead at 35-34 (the 11th lead change in the 1st half, just mid-way through the 2nd quarter).  That sparked a 12-1 Heat run in which they were equally impressive on both ends. 

The Heat held Charlotte without a field goal over the last 7½ minutes of the half before DJ Augustin hit a jumper with about 7 seconds left, and the Heat took a 49-44 lead into the half.  Mike Miller seemed to roll his left ankle on the final play of the half, going down in a heap and running into the locker room with a noticeable limp, but he would appear to be fine.

Miller started the 2nd half and hit a triple a couple minutes in so I'm sure a lot of people (myself included) let out a big sigh of relief.  A couple minutes later Miller would miss a trey but Chris Bosh was right there to collect the rebound and put it back with a 2-handed slam all in one motion.  It was Bosh's 5th offensive rebound of the game.

Unfortunately, Miller would roll that same left ankle again later in the 3rd quarter and this time he wouldn't get up so easily.  Thankfully it wouldn't require much attention, diagnosed as a sprain, but he was done for the night.  After the game Miller would say that the sprain was minor and he expects to be able to play Thursday night in Atlanta.

The 3rd quarter would belong to LeBron James, scoring 16 of his 33 points and giving Heat fans their first taste of what its like to see him take over a game.  Well, in a Heat uniform anyway...  Meanwhile, his hamstring injury is now a thing of the past.

Miami took an 80-71 lead into the 4th quarter, but that's where things began to get ugly.  As you can probably guess, LeBron and Bosh sat out the quarter.  The Heat's offense just died and they looked lost on defense, giving up 31 points while scoring just 16.  Thankfully, the Heat won the quarters in which they had regular lineups in the game, but by no means does that excuse the garbage 4th quarter they played last night.

Patrick Beverly played 24 minutes but did nothing to stand out.  His usual effort on the defensive end was there, but he is still working on his ability to run the offense.   Miami struggled to defend the opposing point guards, which remains a concern.  D.J. Augustin had his best game of the preseason against a struggling Miami backcourt.

Even though defense is where Beverly could come in handy, even if he makes the team its doubtful that he would get into games to make a difference on that end due to his struggles on offense.  Thanks to injuries though, he and Kenny Hasbrouck will likely be kept around until next week so the Heat can have more bodies in practice, so they will get more opportunities to impress the coaching staff.

GAME NOTES

  • Miami forced the Bobcats into 15 1st half turnovers, which led to 19 Heat points.
  • LeBron's 33 points are the most any player in the NBA has scored in a game so far this preseason, and he did it in just 29 minutes before sitting out the entire 4th quarter.  The previous high was 32, scored by Amare Stoudemire and Kevin Love.
  • James is doing a bit more posting up then he has in past seasons, which may be contributing to him getting a little more space to take his long-range jumpers. 
  • More LeBron?  He also hit 12-of-13 from the charity stripe, grabbed 4 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 steals and a block.
  • Kenny Hasbrouck didn't get into the game until late in the game and didn't do anything to impress.  0-3 from the field with 1 assist, 1 steal and 2 turnovers. 
  • James Jones continues to shoot the ball well from downtown, hitting 3-of-5 last night.  His stroke is smooth and he appears to be gaining confidence game by game.
  • Chris Bosh finished with 14 points and 8 rebounds, 6 of which came on the offensive glass. 

It's a little hard to think about all the things Miami did right in this one considering the way they ended it.  The way the last few preseason games have gone, I'm sure many of you along with myself are anxious to get these final two games over and done with so we can see the best the Heat have to offer for a full game.