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With Alston out indefinitely, Arroyo is now the undisputed starter on this team. More importantly, Miami is 9-7 when he starts.
Miami seems to start every game feeding it down low to Jermaine O’Neal. Luckily in this one, he established himself in the paint early on. He was extremely aggressive and attacked the paint relentlessly. J.O. needed to step up in this one in order to match up with the lengthy Bobcats.
After being crowned Eastern Conference player of the week, Wade appeared to be a man on a mission. The runner up to the MVP last year has returned and is rising to the occasion down the stretch this season. In this one, it was as if he was trying to put on a show for MJ which was sitting courtside. He had 25 points through three quarters but could not continue his dominance in the 4th. Wade finished with 27 points.
Richardson continued his hot streak and nailed two three’s in the first quarter. Lately, he has been a model of consistency. With Q-Rich playing at this level, the Heat are very much capable of picking up a “W” against anyone in this league.
Wade and Beasley are starting to develop a much needed chemistry that is vital to this team’s success in the long run. The camaraderie continued over from the Hawks game and the two connected on an alley-oop in the first quarter.
The Heat shot 55% in the opening period and took an early 30-20 lead, led by a game high 13 points from Dwyane Wade.
When Wade took his traditional rest after the first, the bench players kept their foot on the gas pedal and did not let up. They maintained the double-digit lead and showed tremendous grit.
The Zone defense held the Bobcats to 39% shooting in the first half. It would have been even lower if not for the Heat letting Charlotte cut the deficit to single digits right before the half. Throughout this season, the Heat has consistently let other teams go on runs at the end of periods. In this game, Stephen Jackson provided the spark and took 11 points into the locker room.
At the half, Miami lead Charlotte 48-39 and came out with the energy it needed to in this game which held major playoff implications. Wade led the team with 17 points and the team shot 46%.
Once again, Beasley’s screens are either not effective or there is something going on between him and Arroyo. He rarely ever gets the ball back after setting a pick. There were numerous times when Beasley was wide open and didn’t get a touch. For all of the heat Beasley takes for “chucking,” it is worth mentioning he only took three shots in the first half. However, the second half was a different story.
Beasley was active on the boards tonight, he finished with nine boards. He also was aggressive and drove the ball to the basket. Yet again Beasley might make another appearance on Sportscenter with his ferocious throw down in the third quarter.
Chalmers controlled the tempo defensively in the final quarter and caused several turnovers. Now that Alston is away from the team, he is now expected to perform at a high level every night.
The Bobcats regained the lead for the first time in the game since they held a 6-4 lead in the opening period when Raymond Felton nailed a three-pointer with 3:30 left in the game. D.J. Augustin and Felton really burned the Heat in the fourth.
What was once a 15 point Miami lead tuned into a 78-78 tie with two minutes remaining. We were all expecting a dog-fight between two teams competing for the final few playoff spots and that is exactly what it turned into.
Down the stretch, Charlotte smothered Wade defensively and unlike the previous three games, the role players could not capitalize. Haslem missed a 20 foot jumper and Wade missed a three-pointer in the final minute that would have knotted up the score. As a result of this game, the Heat lost the momentum gained from their previous three game win streak and the race for the playoffs got a whole lot tougher.