Charlotte Bobcats@Heat 3/20/10
Another day, another winnable game lost — this time a wasted opportunity against a fellow Eastern Conference Playoff contender. The Miami Heat do nothing special in this one except for playing a little less worse than the Bobcats and win the game 77-71, leapfrogging Charlotte in the standings to take over sixth place by a half game.
It’s the Little Things That Count
Dwayne Wade hardly dominated from a scoring perspective (6-18 from the field) but his fingerprints were all over the Heat’s win. Wade registered 5 blocks including two MIND BLOWING rejections (one in waning seconds of the first half on Tyson Chandler and the other on Tyrus Thomas in the open court midway through the fourth quarter) and nine, count ‘em nine assists to go along with five boards and fourteen points. The very definition of a leader, DWADE did whatever he could to put the Heat in a position to win.
Bobcats shot 29.2% from the field and commit 5 TOs. You just can’t win a game like this folks. The final margin of victory would’ve been much greater for Miami had they not spotted the ‘Cats with an extra fourteen free throw attempts (20 compared to 34). Stephen Jackson and Gerald Wallace take most of the blame here by going for a combined 8-33 from the field. It wasn’t like the Heat were playing suffocating full court defense, the ‘Cats just weren’t hitting anything. Fatigue could be an excuse as Charlotte just came off of Friday night’s OT loss at Atlanta but with the stakes this high this close to Playoff time, it’s just not an acceptable excuse. The ‘Cats just weren’t moving the ball enough and were settling for too many one and done long jumpers.
Amazingly, as bad as the Bobcats played against the Heat they had the game tied 61 with just 8:59 to go in the 4th. Miami was just closing out quarters strong and the 4th was no different — a 10-0 run put this baby to sleep.
- Some Positive News: Tyson Chandler looked decent for once. He played 33 minutes and grabbed eleven boards and swatted three shots. He ran the floor well and looked engaged mentally. As down as I am on Chandler, having him play well could only do good things for the Bobcats both short-term (teaming with Nazr Mohammed as a two-headed center platoon) and long-term (elevating his trade-bait status going into the offseason).
- Seeing that I’m also down on D.J. Augustin, I should at least offer some constructive criticism: D.J. needs to work on a stop & pop jumper from about 15 feet and a quick & crafty floater from the paint. As of right now, the only outcome to Augustin’s dribbling into the lane is a blocked shot or a turnover. At least with a floater and a Nash-like stop & pop he could get his shot off before anyone has a chance of swatting it away.
- Larry Hughes made his debut at 10:30 in the 2nd and promptly had his shot swatted by Dorrell Wright. Yes, there were lots of blocked shots in this game by Miami (13 to be exact).
- Sparse crowd in Miami. Looked about as bad as the Pacers crowd last week in Indy.
- Right before the half the Heat broadcast team put together a little video package featuring the Greatest Centers in the Heat’s 22 year history. Sad. The Hornets could be doing something similar back in the CLT. The Carolinas are all about tradition and it would have been great to walk into the Cable Box and see LJ, DC, Muggsy, Glen Rice and Zo’s jerseys’ hanging from the rafters.
- Quentin Richardson Sighting! The journeyman gunner dropped six threes in the first half, breaking a Heat team record.
At 35-34, the Bobcats are only a half game over .500 and just a half game up on Toronto for 7th place in the conference. Fortunately the ‘Cats have the lowly Wizards twice this week sandwiching a home date against the T’Wolves. If they don’t go 3-0 heading into the 29th home game against Toronto, then something is very, very wrong with this team.