Bosh's 3-pointers help Heat to comeback win
MIAMI - The Charlotte Bobcats had studied Miami Heat forward Chris Bosh's tendencies. But Bosh rendered those scouting reports useless.
Bosh made three consecutive 3-pointers in the final two-plus minutes to help the Heat rally to a 99-98 win over the Bobcats on Sunday night at AmericanAirlines Arena.
Forward LeBron James led the Heat with 26 points, and Bosh added 22 as Miami rallied from a 14-point fourth-quarter deficit to extend its win streak to 10 games. It's the longest active streak in the NBA.
Two of Bosh's 3-pointers were from the top of the key, and the third was from the left elbow. That means, in the words of Bobcats coach Steve Clifford, all three were "above the break" on the court.
"(Bosh's) 3-point numbers are good because he makes the corner three at a high rate," Clifford said. "The shots he made tonight, this year, he has shot under 30 percent."
Asked if he were surprised Bosh made those shots, Clifford further explained his statement.
"No, no, no - he's a skilled guy," the coach said. "But it's not like he's Ray Allen out there.
"It was the difference in the game is my point."
The first of Bosh's 3-pointers bounced off the rim four times before going in, but the last two were straight swishes.
Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said he could feel a psychological shift when the first shot fell.
"Once he hit the first one, I think he felt like he got hot," Spoelstra said. "As soon as it touched his hands on the second one, you know he felt confident."
Bosh, who entered the game having failed to score in double figures in three straight games, had a season-high 13 fourth-quarter points and added nine rebounds overall.
"We stunk offensively for most of the game - it was a struggle," Bosh said. "That's why we talk about strong defensive principles and staying solid in the mind. We could have easily folded, but we stuck with it."
Guards Dwyane Wade (17 points) and Mario Chalmers (12) were the Heat's other double-figure scorers.
Guard Kemba Walker led Charlotte with 27 points. Walker was fouled while shooting a 3-pointer with 0.7 of a second remaining and the Bobcats down by four.
Walker made the first two free throws and tried to miss the third hoping to get a tip-in to force overtime. However, he made the third free throw as well -- off the backboard.
"Discouraging?" Walker said in response to a question about the loss. "Never. It's encouraging because we see the way we can play."
Miami (14-3) trails the Indiana Pacers by two games in the battle for the best record in the East.
Charlotte (8-10) is the most improved defensive team in the league statistically, allowing 11 fewer points than last season. And for most of the game, the Bobcats' defense was effective -- at least until the Heat made their fourth-quarter run.
The Bobcats outscored the Heat by 11 points in the third quarter to lead 73-61 heading into the final period. Charlotte shut out Wade in the third quarter and held James to two points.
Meanwhile, Bobcats guard Gerald Henderson had eight points in the quarter, and Walker had seven.
In the first half, the Bobcats trailed by as many as 10 points before taking their first lead of the game with 40 seconds left in the second quarter on a mid-range jumper by center Al Jefferson. That completed an 18-7 run and sent the Bobcats into halftime leading 48-47.
The Heat led 24-21 after one quarter -- but it was a struggle. James, who aggravated a back injury Friday night in Toronto, missed a dunk, and Wade had just two points in the period.
Wade, though, passed a milestone, becoming the all-time NBA leader in blocked shots by a player 6-foot-4 or shorter, breaking Dennis Johnson's record.
Charlotte finished 24-for-28 at the foul line. Miami made 19 of 25 free throws.
Spoelstra said he was impressed with the Bobcats.
"Steve (Clifford) is a very good coach," he said. "It is tough to get open looks on the strong side on the initial attack. You have to be able to get the ball to the other side.
"(The Bobcats) have really taken a step forward (on defense)."
NOTES: Bobcats F Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, who started 77 games last season and made the All-Rookie second team, returned to the starting lineup Sunday after missing Friday's game due to plantar fasciitis in his right foot. ... Heat G Dwyane Wade entered Sunday averaging 23.0 points on 63 percent shooting in his previous four games. ... Not many players 6-foot-10 or taller lead their team in assists, but that is what the Bobcats have with F Josh McRoberts. The 6-10, 240-pounder is averaging 4.3 assists. ... The Bobcats travel to Dallas for a Tuesday game against the Mavericks. ... Up next for the Heat is a Tuesday home game against the Detroit Pistons.