LeBron, Wade combine for 69 vs. Bobcats
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP)
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Yes, the Miami Heat superstars can put up big numbers together.
James scored 38 points for his 10th game of 30 or more and Wade added 31 for his ninth. But Monday night's 96-82 victory over the short-handed Charlotte Bobcats marked the first time they each topped 30 in the same game.
"To look at us in the Boston game earlier this year, we didn't know what each other was thinking," Wade said. "Now we're on the same page. Us not being able to play together is not a conversation anymore. I think we do a good job of playing off each other.
"This is what we envisioned and it's starting to come true," he said.
The memories of the terrible opening-night loss to the Celtics and the 9-8 start are fading fast as the Heat cruised to their 18th win in 19 games and 11th straight on the road.
Playing for the first time against Paul Silas, his first NBA coach in Cleveland, James scored 26 points in the second half and added nine rebounds. Wade had 18 points in the first half and grabbed 11 boards.
"I guess ESPN needs to make a show of me an D-Wade now, '30 for 30,"' James joked.
With James and Wade playing like this, the Bobcats wouldn't have had much of a chance at full strength. With the lineup they put out there, they had none.
"When Wade is going and LeBron is going, you have to call it a day," Silas said.
Charlotte played without starting forward Gerald Wallace (ankle) and center Nazr Mohammed (knee) the same day tests revealed backup big man DeSagana Diop is lost for the season with a ruptured Achilles' tendon.
With Kwame Brown the only healthy center, the Bobcats fell apart offensively, missing 18 straight shots bridging the second and third quarters.
It was a day of awards for the Heat, with Wade also named the East's player of the week and Erik Spoelstra picking up the coach of the month honor.
After worrying before the game that his players might get complacent amid their hot streak, Spoelstra had some concerns early in his 200th game on the bench.
Charlotte, one of the league's worst offensive teams, shot 63 percent in the first quarter behind Jackson's 12 points. The Bobcats led by seven in the second and went up 41-35 on Gerald Henderson's hoop with 4:05 left.
But Miami clamped down defensively and by the time the Bobcats got another shot to fall - Augustin's 3-pointer with 5:30 left in the third - Miami led 61-51.
After the Bobcats cut a 19-point deficit to 80-69 early in the fourth quarter, James beat the shot clock by swishing a 30-footer along the left baseline while double teamed. He then stole a pass and went in for a reverse dunk on the next possession and stared at Bobcats owner Michael Jordan sitting courtside.
"When you are making them take contested shots, and (James) is hitting those, what can you do?" Jackson said. "You have to give props when props are due and they're great, man. Two of the best players in the game and they played like it."
James, who joked the Heat are referring to themselves as the "Heatles" after the Beatles for attracting big crowds on the road, helped his old coach fall to 2-2 since replacing the fired Larry Brown.
Silas said Wallace would be out a "few games" after the 2010 All-Star aggravated his ankle injury in practice Sunday. Mohammed was scratched about an hour before the game with a bruised right knee, and the Bobcats were outrebounded 46-35 in their second straight loss.
"We're having a blast," James said. "We're having a good time. We're playing good basketball."
Notes: James on Spoelstra winning coach of the month honors: "Everybody was talking about him being on the hot seat in November to being coach of the month in December. It's kind of funny." ... Silas, fired by the Cavaliers in 2005, defended James from the criticism for announcing his free-agent decision on national TV. "I've been on buses where the general manager gets on the bus and tells a player he's traded. They don't him know ahead of time," Silas said.