After a quality third quarter, the Charlotte Bobcats unraveled against the Miami Heat to remain winless against teams with a .500 record or better.
Charlotte’s fourth quarter struggles continue to be apparent. Typically, the Bobcats should be expected to lose due to a lack of overall offense. Charlotte though managed a respectable 15 points in the last five minutes of regulation. Sunday, the defense let the team down in the waning minutes of regulation.
The Bobcats looked to stop penetration and were late rotating to shooters in the fouth quarter. Charlotte conceded multiple wide open jump shots off Miami’s drive and kicks. Chris Bosh and Mario Chalmers both hit big 3-point shots in the fourth quarter, with Bosh hitting a trio of 3-pointers to give Miami a late lead.
Packing the paint has its benefit, but the Bobcats have to know the opposition’s personel. Bosh isn’t a prolific or high volume 3-point shooter. He’s selective and efficient at the 3-point shots he chooses. Bosh averages 1.7 3-point attempts per game and is shooting above 40 percent on them.
Despite unfolding down in the fourth quarter, Charlotte played a solid, well-rounded basketball game. The Bobcats’ top three players in Kemba Walker, Al Jefferson and Gerald Henderson contributed at a high level and they narrowly managed to hold a dynamic offense to less than 100 points.
Miami has been a pain in Charlotte’s side since the arrival of LeBron James, but they continue to play some competitive games against the defending champions.
IN THE BONUS
- Despite the loss, this was a very fun game to watch and had a playoff environment during the last couple of minutes. Who said Miami doesn’t care about the regular season? Their players sure looked and played like they cared.
- Charlotte was up 79-65 during the fourth quarter. Miami closed the game on a 34 to 19 run.
- After taking Bismack Biyombo‘s spot in the rotation, Jeff Adrien did not play in Sunday’s game. Biyombo played 10 minutes and had four rebounds and two points.
- Cody Zeller went 1 for 6 with two points and three rebounds.
- Ben Gordon went scoreless in seven minutes.
- Along with Adrien, Jannero Pargo and Anthony Tolliver sat the entire game.
- Michael Beasley shot 2 of 8 from the field with four points and seven rebounds. Maligned for his underachievement and immaturity in five seasons, Beasley has been a quality contributor in his second stint in Miami. Before Sunday’s game, Beasley was averaging 23.5 points and 7.6 rebounds per 36 minutes. Beasley signed a one-year, minimum salary contract with Miami in the offseason.
- Udonis Haslem, James Jones and Joel Anthony were all out for Miami.
- Dwyane Wade had 17 points in 35 minutes. For all the talk of Wade’s decline and injury concern, Miami is doing the right thing by giving him rest during the regular season so that he isn’t battling the injuries he has in the last two postseasons.
ABOVE THE RIM
- Greg Pietras, Queen City Hoops: It was a high-scoring night for Walker, who always seems more comfortable when he’s taking more shots. Kemba mixed it up, driving the lane for a few tough makes and keeping Miami honest with his mid-range shots. It’s the kind of performance you’d like to see from him more often.
- Rick Bonnell, Charlotte Observer: The Bobcats have now lost 14 straight to the Heat. There was a strong sense of remorse in the locker room that they slipped up defensively in the game’s last nine minutes to waste what had been their best overall performance of an 8-10 start.
- Surya Fernandez, Hot Hot Hoops: The Bobcats didn’t do their scoring from beyond the arc but connected on a multitude of midrange jumpers and were able to successfully contain the Heat’s offense for large parts of the second, third and fourth quarters. With little in the way of scoring help off the bench and what looked like it would be another quiet night from Bosh had many in the building fearing that their win streak was about to die.