The Miami Heat visited yet another city during their preseason tour but it hardly had the look of an NBA game, with both teams wearing new uniforms while playing on North Carolina State's basketball court. Though they were the visiting team, they clearly enjoyed more fan support and the same will likely be said on the second leg of the back-to-back set in Kansas City against the Washington Wizards.
Dwyane Wade had the night off, trading places with LeBron James on the sidelines and he was joined by Mike Miller. Nevertheless, the rest of the Heat's core weren't shy about launching from long range and Shane Battier, Rashard Lewis and Ray Allen reaped the benefits.
The Heat's best player of the night was easily Chris Bosh, who continued his successful run this preseason at the 5 spot, this time with spectacular results. In 25 minutes, he scored 21 points, grabbed 7 rebounds and even contributed 5 assists. Granted, it was against a collection of big men from the league's worst team but Bosh continues to display not just his usual reliable jumper but mixing that up with confident moves to the basket and a savvy low post game.
LeBron James filled up the box score with 10 points, 8 assists and 4 rebounds and he was in clear "facilitator" mode, seeking to focus on his playmaking while generally playing at a slower gear than usual.
The Heat raced to an early lead but the Bobcats made a quick run to almost pull even. A Bosh jumper made it 12-9 that broke a Charlotte run that closed the gap by a single point. Right after that he scored with a gorgeous spin move on center Bismack Biyombo and then on a driving layup for his eight point halfway through the first quarter. Moments later, a corner jumper made it 10 of the Heat's last 12 points to help boost the lead back up to 9 points.
Ramon Sessions and Kemba Walker were successful in attacking the basket throughout the night and this might have been a game in which a healthy Joel Anthony could have had some success. Dexter Pittman didn't build upon one of his better games as a member of the Heat and quickly was hit with 4 fouls and 3 turnovers in only 10 minutes.
Ray Allen played 26 minutes off the bench and scored 15 points on 6-9 shooting and hitting a pair of three-pointers and grabbing 4 rebounds. He had 7 points in the first 6 minutes of the second quarter when he quickly scored on a drive to the basket, then was fouled after a shot fake and then hit a corner jumper. His shot could use a bit more arc and it's been off the last couple of games but he remains active on both ends of the floor and more importantly is quickly acclimating himself on the floor with his teammates.
The Heat never gave up the lead and the rotation players for the most part had solid games but the reserves allowed the lead to whittle down to single digits late in the fourth quarter. Terrell Harris repeated his late game heroics against the San Antonio Spurs with another clutch performance down the stretch.