The Miami Heat did what they were supposed to do on Friday night. While the game was not the blowout some may have desired, the Heat kept the visiting Bobcats at arms length the entire second half.
Returning from his one game absence due to a thigh injury, Dwyane Wade started the game attacking the basket. In his 14 point first quarter, Wade attempted nine free throws and as a result put Bobcats guard, Gerald Henderson, on the bench early with two fouls. Wade’s scoring barrage gave the Heat an early cushion, which the Heat never relinquished.
Early in the second quarter he Bobcats closed the deficit while both Wade and LeBron James were on the bench. James’ reentry was marked by an explosive alley-oop from Mario Chalmers. The Heat closed the half on a 12-5 run which grew the lead to 11 at halftime.
The Bobcats didn’t mount much of a threat in the second half until Garret Temple made three straight three pointers. Gerald Henderson’s basket with under a minute remaining cut the Heat’s lead to six points, but it was too late.
This was a very undermanned Bobcats team playing a very uninspired Heat team. Not much can be gleaned from the matchup other than the Heat secured the victory. LeBron James was his usual outstanding self, finishing with a fairly quiet 23 point, 7 rebound and 9 assist game.
Big Z returned to the starting lineup, which may have been the plan all along. Ilgauskas has been the Heat’s best center all season, and his “demotion” may have had more to do with rest than performance.
The win ensured that tomorrow’s tilt with the Celtics will have a significant impact on the quest for the number 2 seed. Should the Heat win its remaining three contests, it will clinch home court in the second round.
Perhaps of greater importance last night was the Lakers loss to Portland. By dropping that game, the Lakers tied the Heat in the loss column. Should the Heat win out, they will have the homecourt advantage in a Heat-Lakers final, which could prove to be important.