The Bobcats probably just wanted to get through the game with Al Jefferson somewhat healthy. This Charlotte team had to change and become somewhat more guard-oriented to try to get a split in Miami.
It sure almost worked with Chris Douglas-Roberts missing a game-tying 3-pointer in the late stages of the game and the Heat turning the ball over late. Jefferson’s injury and Gerald Henderson fouling out did not seem to matter.
Charlotte just could not get over the hump. Kemba Walker missed several shots up close as he tried to get to the basket and pulled up just short. The final insult came with 10 seconds on the clock and the Bobcats trying to set up the game-tying three. Gary Neal could not get enough space to get his shot off and passed to Chris Douglas-Roberts. The Heat trapped and Dwyane Wade ripped the ball away, cementing a 101-97 victory for the Heat and a 2-0 series lead.
The Bobcats were oh so close.
Al Jefferson was clearly still hobbled by his torn plantar fascia in his left foot. He went to the locker room in the first half and the Heat built as much as a 17-point lead. Jefferson though bounced back and so did his team. Jefferson scored 18 points on 23 field goal attempts.
Charlotte relied heavily on its guards to keep the game tight. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist was aggressive and scored a season high 22 points to go with 10 rebounds. Kemba Walker had 16 points, including a cold-blooded three-pointer late that brought Charlotte within one point late.
Unfortunately, inefficiency in the early stages of the game dug Charlotte a deep hole and the team struggled to get all the way back despite several runs that brought the lead down to single digits and a few possessions.
LeBron James paced the Heat with 32 points and eight assists. He attacked the rim pretty easily and had some incredible finishes. A couple of his turnovers late though gave the Bobcats new life.
Miami just got up big and held on, making plays on offense and defense when the team had to. That is what you have to do sometimes. The Bobcats needed just that little push of execution to catch them with it. Not tonight, Charlotte.