Despite a late charge that pulled the Bobcats within 6 with 1:29 to play, the Heat finally put Charlotte away in the final minute by holding onto a 112-103 victory at American Airlines Arena on Friday night. The Cats trailed by 14 midway through the 4th but used a quick 7-0 spurt to claw within 7, eventually trimming the deficit to 104-98. The game got away from us when a bad pass by Temple on a fast break resulted in a steal and layup for Lebron, which sealed the deal. In all, the Big 3/Heatles/or whatever you want to call them combined for 77 points, which was too much for us to handle.
I give the Bobcats a lot of credit for hanging in there with a superior team tonight. We only dressed 9 players again but kept hustling and fighting until the end. The key stretch of the game was the last 5 minutes of the first half when a 3 point deficit quickly turned into an 11 point hole thanks to a 14-6 Heat spurt to end the half. Charlotte kept it close in the second half due to superb play from their bench. Temple added 17 points, including three consecutive 3-pointers early in the 4th that prevented the game from getting away from us. DJ White also pitched in with 13 points and 8 boards as the bench in total dropped in 46 of the team's 103 points.
The true story of the game was foul trouble and FT shooting. Hendo had a night to forget as he picked up his 2nd foul four minutes into the game, his 3rd early in the second quarter, and his 4th and 5th early in the 3rd quarter. When he was taken out with 6:34 to go in the third, he had only played 11 minutes and scored 2 points. He fouled out late with only 4 points. Miami, on the other hand, drew 25 fouls and were 31-35 from the FT line. And surprisingly enough (you may want to sit down for this), Wade shot 16 of the FTs, making 15 of those attempts. Some things just never change.
Kwame Brown cruises to the TSP Game breaker Award tonight. He finished with 23 points on 10-15 shooting and also snagged 13 rebounds (although I think he padded his rebounding numbers by hauling in his own bricks). Throughout the game, he was the most aggressive Bobcat on the floor and consistently attacked the shaky big men for Miami. He also gets a bonus TSP point for his flagrant 1 foul on Wade in the 4th. If the refs are going to keep sending him to the line, make him think about it at least. Congratulations Kwame!
What's Next: The Cats head home to face the Pistons on Sunday night. Charlotte is 2-1 against Detroit this season, including a win in Paul Silas' debut as the Cats' coach on December 27th. The Pistons are 7-32 on the road so this one should go our way. But that's what we thought against Washington and Cleveland too.