With LeBron James and Dwyane Wade rooting from the bench, the Miami Heat defeated the Charlotte Bobcats 89-79 Friday. Mike Miller scored a season-high 26 points on seven three-pointers and Chris Bosh had 18 points and eight rebounds. The Heat shot 45% from the field and Miller had more three-point makes than the Bobcats.
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist led a low-scoring Bobcats attack with 18 points and 14 rebounds. Kemba Walker and Gerald Henderson combined for 5-31 from the field, in one of their worst offensive nights in some time. Despite Miami missing their superstar players, their team defense was at a high level all night. The Bobcats had trouble finding good shots in the offense, and there was no rhyme or reason at all. The team looked a lot different from their past homes, after winning five of their previous six in Time Warner Cable Arena.
Josh McRoberts was 4-12 from the field. He finished with eight points, 11 rebounds, three assists and two blocks. Tyrus Thomas was in the rotation for the second straight game after not playing in over a month. Thomas had six points and two rebounds in 17 minutes. Bismack Biyombo had four points and eight rebounds in 27 minutes.
The Bobcats were able to cut Miami’s led to six with a little over two minutes left in the game. However, Miami scored seven of their final nine points at the free throw line to put the game out of reach. It’s impressive that Miami is able to convincingly beat teams without their star players and still play great defense. They also still had similar offensive philosphies without the players who break down defenses and create open shots.
Despite the loss, there isn’t a whole lot to take away from this game for the Bobcats. As mentioned, they have been playing very well at home recently, and most of it was due to their scoring attack. That scoring was led by Walker and Henderson, who both had one of their worst games of the season tonight. The only thing it re-emphasized was the Bobcats difficulty getting quality shots against top-notch defenses. The Heat did a great job of turning each possession into a difficult shot, or forcing Charlotte to put the ball on the floor and make a play. The Bobcats shot 32% from the field and 18% from three. They did get to the line 22 times and hit 90% of their free throws. However, you’ll still need a lot more to beat a quality team like Miami, even without their box-office players.