The Miami Heat were playing without Dwyane Wade. So what? LeBron James just takes his game up a notch, almost gets his fifth triple double of the season while leading his team to a 26th consecutive win, while everything looks too easy for him and his teammates, simply enjoying the magical ride they seem to be on.
While the Charlotte Bobcats were never looking like the team that will end the run the Heat are on, it still should have been a little harder for Miami, winning 109-77. James finished with 32 points, 8 rebounds, 10 assists, 3 blocks and 3 steals, pulling off a 30-8-10-3-3 game for only the second time in his career. He and Dwyane Wade are the only NBA players to pull off that kind of stat line in over a decade, Andre Miller preceding them in 2001 with a 46 point game.
It was a good, professional win, and obviously we had a lot of guys step up, guys that hadn’t been getting regular minutes. That’s good to see, because we will need it. Good team win.
Mike Miller got to start instead of Wade, playing for 22 minutes and scoring only 6 points. Norris Cole scored 15 points off the bench, helped by Ray Allen, who has certainly regained his scoring touch in March after a rough couple of months, making 4-5 from beyond the arc. Chris Bosh didn’t really need to put on his superstar jersey which he sometimes actually has to wear, completely reformed into his current role of a guy who does a lot of things that don’t really show up on the stat sheet, but did score 15 points in his 31 minutes on the floor. There was no real need for the top dogs to play big minutes, instead of resting in the final quarter.
LeBron James is having it mostly easy against everyone in the NBA right now, but no one rolls up the red carpet for him like the Bobcats do. James went 8-of-9 inside the paint and has averaged 18.7 points in the paint in three games against Charlotte this season. That’s James’ second-highest scoring average in the paint against a single team this season, averaging 23 points in the paint against the Los Angeles Lakers.
The most interesting thing about the win is that the Bobcats actually held an early double digit lead in the first quarter. But then Miami opened a 15-0 run and the Bobcats never recovered from that knockout, missing 20 of their next 22 shots. The Heat don’t seem to be worried about their slow starts, which has been kind of their M.O. lately.
We’ve been having slow starts. But it’s not how we start. It’s how we finish. The Heat are only the fifth team over the last 15 seasons to come back from a double digit deficit to win by more than 30 points.
Where does this end? It’s impossible to say. No matter where and who the Heat play, they seem like huge favorites to win. Double digit deficits mean nothing to them; who’s playing means nothing. As long as James has got it going on, and he does almost every night, there’s no real need to worry. Bosh and Wade are just waiting on the wings for the cue so they can jump in and take a more significant role, while the rest of the pawns are doing exactly what’s asked of them.