The Miami Heat don’t get discouraged when they don’t have Dwyane Wade in the lineup. They know they can win without him.
LeBron James had 19 points and nine rebounds to lead the short-handed Heat to a 105-82 victory over the Charlotte Bobcats on Friday night.
”It’s business as usual,” forward Chris Bosh said of the star guard’s absence.
He’s only slightly exaggerating as Miami improved to 11-1 in Wade’s absence. He’s expected back for Sunday’s game at New York.
Bosh had 18 points and seven rebounds as the Heat completed a three-game season-series sweep of Charlotte. Miami led by 22 after three quarters and rested James, who also had five assists, the entire final period.
Miami bounced back after a disappointing 96-86 overtime loss at Chicago on Thursday night that likely ended the Heat’s hopes of getting the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs.
”It was important for us to get better tonight and get a win,” James said.
Derrick Brown had 21 points and nine rebounds to lead Charlotte, which lost its 15th straight game. The Bobcats trailed 33-19 after the first quarter and got no closer than 15 in the second half.
Miami was also without starting forward Udonis Haslem (stomach virus) and reserve forward Mike Miller (ankle).
The absences forced Miami to have its third different starting lineup in three games. Swingman James Jones (six points on 2 for 7 shooting) started for Wade, and center Joel Anthony replaced Haslem, who got his first start a night earlier at Chicago in place of Ronny Turiaf.
However, the injuries didn’t ease Charlotte coach Paul Silas one bit.
”If Wade, Bosh and LeBron were out, then I’d be smiling,” he said before the game.
The Bobcats were also short-handed, starting the game with just 10 players in uniform. Among the missing were forward Tyrus Thomas (right knee contusion), center DeSagana Diop (left Achilles’), forward Corey Maggette (right Achilles’) and forward Eduardo Najera (frontal bone fracture).
Then, forward D.J. White was hit in the head in the second quarter. The resulting headache meant he didn’t play in the second half.
”I think we played hard,” Brown said. ”We’re short-handed right now. This team just keeps on playing through adversity. Obviously, it’s bad, but we need to continue to play as hard as we can to get ready for the future.”
The Bobcats, a league-worst 7-51, are in danger of not reaching double-digit victories in this lockout-shortened 66-game season. Charlotte needs three victories in the final eight games.
Miami made quick work of the Bobcats. The Heat took a 58-39 halftime lead by shooting 58.5 percent from the field and holding Charlotte to 38.5 percent.
Charlotte didn’t offer much resistance.
Brown had a good night, guard Gerald Henderson chipped in with 14 points, and rookie center Bismack Biyombo had 10 points, eight rebounds and rookie guard Kemba Walker added 11 points.
The Heat reserves, outscored 47-7 by their Chicago counterparts a night earlier, finished with 44 points and 17 rebounds against the Bobcats. Center Dexter Pittman had a career-best 16 points.
NOTES: Miami is in the midst of playing five games in seven days. It hosted Boston (Tuesday), visited Chicago (Thursday), hosted Charlotte (Friday) and visits New York (Sunday) and New Jersey (Monday). … LeBron James scored in double digits for the 136th consecutive game with the Heat. The franchise record is 148 by Wade. James has scored in double digits for 414 consecutive career games. … Charlotte guard Gerald Henderson has scored in double figures in 14 of his last 18 games.