Heat rally back late to escape with win against Bobcats
MIAMI (AP) — Chris Bosh watched his first 3-pointer bounce once, twice, three times, four times before finally dropping into the net.
His next try, from almost the same spot, swished.
And the third one essentially saved the Miami Heat.
A threesome of 3-pointers — he had never made that many in an NBA quarter, say nothing of his 79-second span Sunday night — highlighted a run where Bosh scored 13 straight Miami points, and the Heat beat the Charlotte Bobcats 99-98 to extend their winning streak to 10 games.
The Heat led for the final 1:20, the time remaining when Bosh’s third 3 put Miami up 93-91. Charlotte had held the lead for the previous 23:21.
“It kind of just happened,” Bosh said. “I was wide open so I figured I would take a step back and in the words of our late teammate Mike Miller, `let it fly.’ That was really it.”
LeBron James led the Heat with 26 points, Bosh finished with 22, Dwyane Wade scored 17 and Mario Chalmers added 12 for Miami, which has beaten the Bobcats 14 straight times.
Kemba Walker scored 27 points for the Bobcats. Gerald Henderson scored 17, and Al Jefferson finished with 16 points and 13 rebounds for Charlotte.
“It’s disappointing because I felt we had them. We outplayed them,” Henderson said. “They just came up with the plays at the end of the game that championship teams tend to do.”
The Bobcats outscored Miami 25-14 in the third quarter and led by 14 points with 9:14 left.
And then Miami scored 34 points in the final 8:20, which works out to a 196-point pace over a full regulation game. The Heat made 11 of their final 13 shots, with Bosh’s 3s leading the way — Wade getting the assist on all three of them.
“It started with us,” Bobcats coach Steve Clifford said. “Instead of playing possession by possession, we made mistakes. They started going to the basket and we couldn’t get them under control.”
James was highly effective again, scoring his 26 on only 13 shots and while dealing a balky back that has bothered him all season and flared up Friday in Toronto. James got treatment Saturday, received more Sunday until the start of pregame warmups, and played 38 minutes.
“I don’t think we did anything bad in the game,” James said. “We defended. They hit some tough shots. We didn’t turn the ball over, I think we had only 14 turnovers, they didn’t have a bunch of offensive rebounds, they didn’t have many fast-break points. Just one of those games where you’ve got to gut it out. And we’ll take it.”
The Heat were down 12 when James re-entered the game with 8:04 left. He quickly got a three-point play to cut the lead to 79-70, and things got interesting.
A 3-pointer from James with 6:18 left cut the lead to six. He made a pass to Chalmers for another 3 about 90 seconds later, getting Miami within three.
Soon, the Bosh long-range display began.
“Chris stepped up big,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “Once he hit the first one, the second one, you could tell he wanted it.”
Charlotte scored the first six points of the second half, then opened things up with a 16-8 run. The Bobcats made five straight shots, all jumpers from an average of 18 feet, while the Heat missed their final five of the quarter and trailed 73-61 entering the fourth.
Things weren’t decided until the final seven-tenths of a second. Walker was fouled while shooting a 3 with Miami up four. He made the first two free throws, tried to miss the third intentionally, but his shot bounced in and time expired one pass later.
“We didn’t think we had it,” Walker said. “This is the NBA. Guys can score and be back in the game in a heartbeat. That’s what they did.”
Miami led by 10 twice during the first half, before the Bobcats put together an 18-7 run and took a one-point halftime lead. Wade was credited with his second block of the night on the final play before halftime, the swat being No. 676 of his career, the most recorded by an NBA player standing 6-foot-4 or shorter.
Dennis Johnson was the holder of that distinction, getting 675 blocks in 1,100 games. Sunday was the Wade’s 679th game.
NOTES: During one stoppage in play late in the first half, James shot a pair of 3-pointers that bounced off the rim, noteworthy because he shot them left-handed (he writes with his left hand, but plays with a dominant right hand). … Michael Kidd-Gilchrist returned to the Charlotte lineup after missing one game with plantar fasciitis in his right foot.