Fresh off of their almost-collapse in Orlando last night, the Miami Heat head north to play against another division rival, the Charlotte Bobcats. The Heat are finally healthy after dealing with a tough few weeks in which each of the Big 3 missed some time. Now they can get back to working towards the playoffs, winning as many games as they can in the process.
The Bobcats come into this one on the heels of a 6-game road trip that started out west and finished up in Detroit. They're feeling pretty good about it too, winning 4 of the 6 games and getting themselves back into a playoff spot. Things get a little tougher now for Charlotte as their next three games are against Miami, Dallas and Boston.
- LeBron James is coming off perhaps his best game of the season. He had 51 points, 11 rebounds and 8 assists last night in Orlando.
- James also averaged 30.6 points, 8.4 boards and 7.4 assists in the month of January. He should absolutely be in the running for NBA's Eastern Conference Player of the Month.
- Bobcats guard Stephen Jackson scored a season-high 39 points in their win over Detroit on Wednesday, well above his season average of 18.8.
- Their other starting guard D.J. Augustin has scored in double figures in 19 of his last 20 games.
- Jackson and Augustin combine to average 33.4 points per game. That's the 5th highest scoring backcourt in the NBA.
- Udonis Haslem (foot) is out for the Heat.
- As for Charlotte, Tyrus Thomas (knee) and DeSagana Diop (Achilles) are out.
Tipoff from Time Warner Cable Arena is set for 7pm. The Heat is going for their 5th consecutive win. They've already won both games against Charlotte this year so hopefully after tonight they'll be 3 for 3.
CHRIS BOSH AN ALL-STAR
Last night the NBA announced the reserve players for this year's All-Star game, which takes place later this month on the 20th. Only three Eastern Conference teams were needed to pluck the 7 reserves off of. A bit of a no-brainer as far as we all were concerned, Chris Bosh will be out there to represent the Heat. It will be the 6th time Bosh has been selected to play in the mid-season classic. As for the rest, four of the seven backups will come from the Boston Celtics (Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Ray Allen and Rajon Rondo) and the other two are off of the Atlanta Hawks roster (Al Horford and Joe Johnson).
Out West, the All-Star supporting cast features Manu Ginobili, Tim Duncan, Dirk Nowitzki, Pau Gasol, Deron Williams, Russell Westbrook and rookie Blake Griffin.
One final All-Star related note...Heat youngster Dexter Pittman was selected to represent the Sioux Falls Skyforce in the NBA D-League All-Star game. In 17 games the youngster is averaging 14.8 points and 8.2 rebounds. The NBDL All-Star Game is Feb. 19 in Los Angeles.