Most of the attention went to Dwyane Wade, who actually outscored his teammate, LeBron James for once. Not for the right reasons though, as the most memorable thing to come out of the Miami Heat winning on the road was Wade kicking Ramon Sessions in the groin, and getting away with it.
Believe it or not, the referees called the foul on the Bobcats’ backup point guard. And then the Heat wonder why people say David Stern has their back. But conspiracy theories aside, this wasn’t a fair fight. After the tension and the aggression from Christmas evaporated, the Heat took a nice short travel to Charlotte to enjoy a more relaxing atmosphere against a team that has now lost 16 consecutive games.
There were ups and downs, as there are every game for the Heat, who are having trouble putting games to sleep against stronger opponents than the Bobcats.
That is what we’re going to face on the road. The home team is not going to go away. We understand that. We have been through that over the last three years here so we’re comfortable and confident in those situations. It’s about making the right plays on both ends of the floor. We understand that we haven’t played great basketball on the road so far. But we were able to take care of business tonight. For the most part over the last few weeks we’ve been playing some great basketball.
So Dwyane Wade, finishing with 29 points, 9 rebounds and 5 assists, got to be the villain for one night. He’s actually the dirtier player of the two Miami Heat superstars, but the focus is so strong on LeBron James each time he’s in the vicinity, Wade actually manages to get away with his reputation more often than not. Maybe now that James isn’t public enemy number one anymore, Wade is going to find it harder and harder getting off easily from his dirty streak.
For James, it was more of the usual. Another “almost” triple double, finishing with 27 points, 12 rebounds and 8 assists. He’s having one incredible December, not to mention season, averaging 26.3 points (55% from the field), 8.4 rebounds and 7.4 assists per game in 12 games this month. This puts him in quite the exclusive company of Larry Bird, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Wilt Chamberlain of posting such numbers during a month playing at least 10 games during that period.
James is becoming more and more efficient. It might mean more energy conserving during some games, which has gotten the whole movement of talking about the Heat not playing too seriously except for certain games early on in the season, but it also means his shot selection is much better. He’s shooting 54.2% from the field this season and 42.9% from beyond the arc, attempting 3.2 three pointers a game. There’s a good chance James won’t get physically better than he is right now or was during the last postseason, but he is getting smarter on the floor, making better choices and decisions. That’s a scary thought for the entire NBA.
It was pretty much the same assisting crew the Heat had against the Thunder. Mario Chalmers carried on with his aggressive play on offense, finishing with 17 points, hitting four tres. Chris Bosh added 14, while the bench added 18 more points. No need for any special heroics or drama against the Bobcats. Just another day in the office for the NBA champions.