After snapping their longest losing streak in two years, the Miami Heat now turn their attention to extending a dominant run against a division rival.
The Heat travel to Charlotte on Saturday night seeking their 15th consecutive victory over the Bobcats.
Miami got its five-game road trip off to a horrid start with three consecutive losses, the team’s first skid of that length since Jan. 10-13, 2012 — which also came on the road.
The skid ended Friday with a 101-86 victory in Philadelphia in which LeBron James finished with 21 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds. Chris Bosh led the way with 25 points for the Heat, who shot 85.0 percent (17 of 20) at the free throw line after hitting 73.8 percent from the stripe during the losing streak.
"It was great to see our energy from the beginning, basically, to the end," James said. "That’s what we are. We can’t be nobody else. We’ve got to be us."
In two previous games this season against the Bobcats, James has averaged 28.0 points and shot 67.7 percent from the field. The Heat (28-11) haven’t lost to Charlotte since March 9, 2010, and have won 13 in a row in the series since James and Bosh joined the team that summer.
Veteran shooting guard Ray Allen will be looking to end a very uncharacteristic slump. Allen, who has the most 3-pointers in NBA history, has made just 6 of his 39 attempts (15.4 percent) over the last ten games.
The Bobcats (17-24) will look to end their skid against Miami behind the strong play of center Al Jefferson, who is coming off one of his best performances since signing with Charlotte in the offseason.
In Friday’s 111-101 victory at Orlando, Jefferson went 13 of 17 from the field and finished with 30 points and 16 rebounds, keying a Charlotte offense that made 52.7 percent of its shots — one of its highest percentages of the season.
Kemba Walker added 19 points and 10 assists, while Gerald Henderson and Josh McRoberts both chipped in with 17 points.
"We want to play through him," Walker said of Jefferson. "We get opportunities on fast breaks and things like that, but whenever we can get him the basketball we want to because he makes all the right plays."
The Bobcats, who have been held to an average of 87.6 points over their last nine against Miami, are 4-0 at home this season when they score 100 or more points and 5-11 when they don’t. Charlotte has eclipsed 100 only once since James and Bosh joined the Heat — a 112-103 loss on April 8, 2011.
Both teams will be playing the second of back-to-back games, but that situation has favored the Heat a lot more than it has the Bobcats this season. Miami is 5-2 in those games, while Charlotte is 3-8.