Last night we saw one of the better offensive starts for the Heat this season. Good ball movement was the key to Miami scoring 17 points in first 6 minutes, getting all 5 starters involved and on the scoresheet. LeBron James led the way after one with 13 points, and as a team the Heat shot 61% and took an 8-point lead into the 2nd quarter.
Chris Bosh scored 7 points in a stretch of just over two minutes that gave Miami a 14-point lead, their largest of the game at that point. Neither team shot the ball particularly well in a 2nd quarter that was still controlled by the Heat. The Big 3 accounted for 17 of the 25 points scored by Miami, and their D did a great job of forcing some bad looks by the Bobcats.
Erik Spoelstra's club started the 2nd half with a 19-point lead and the challenge would be if they could continue to clamp down on defense and hold off Charlotte from making a comeback. That would prove to be easier said then done though. The Bobcats started the half on a 14-2 run, shooting their way right back into the game. The Heat meanwhile missed 7 of their first 8 shots despite having their starting lineup on the floor.
Miami was able to stop the bleeding after the awful start to the 2nd half, but they still had allowed the Bobcats to make a game of it. After holding them to just 37 points in the entire 1st half, Charlotte dropped 31 on the Heat in the 3rd quarter and turned what was a 21-point deficit late in the 2nd quarter to just 7 heading into the 4th.
Another run by the Bobcats (17-7) closed the gap to just 3, and there was still over 7 minutes left in the game. Miami just couldn't score, hitting only 2 of their 10 4th quarter shots while Charlotte finally came all the way back, taking a 2-point lead on Stephen Jackson's 4th trey of the night with just under 5 minutes left in the game.
The Bobcats next field goal would come over three minutes later as the Heat were able to once again clamp down on defense. They re-took the lead on a LeBron James runner with 3:27 left and would not relinquish it. In fact, after Charlotte took the lead Miami held them to just 5 points through the end of the game. The dagger came in the form of a James Jones triple with 19 seconds left, putting the Heat up by 7.
Chris Bosh went from his highest scoring game of the season on Wednesday against Phoenix to probably his most productive all-around game last night against the Bobcats. He scored 22 points and grabbed a season-high 14 boards, 7 in each half.
- Usually a Heat killer, Gerald Wallace was held in check by Miami. He scored just 6 points on 2-of-9 shooting before fouling out late in the 4th quarter. Three of his six fouls were offensive, with the charges being drawn by three different Heat players (Udonis, Bosh and LeBron).
- Udonis Haslem was quietly productive as usual, finishing with 6 points and 9 rebounds. He also drew a pair of charges, his team leading 9th and 10th.
- LeBron James had missed 9 consecutive 3-point attempts before hitting one in the 1st quarter.
- Despite feeling quite sick all day, Dwyane Wade gave it a go last night. He would hit 4-of-7 from the field in the 1st half but he seemed to grow weaker as the game went on. He shot 0-for-6 in the 2nd half and was obviously not his usual himself, but hopefully he'll rest up and keep drinking fluids so he can make a difference tonight in Memphis.
- Chris Bosh went a perfect 8-for-8 from the foul line, including 4 big ones in the final two minutes. He has now hit 19 straight from the charity stripe.
It's a quick turnaround for the Heat who is right back at it tomorrow night in Memphis. Tipoff will be at 8pm.