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Coming into Saturday night’s game against the Miami Heat no NBA team had held the Heat under 100 points. So If I told you before the game started that the Bobcats would only have 8 turnovers to the Heats 15 and would out rebound them on the offensive glass 10-6 you would think the game would be very close right? Well, wrong. The game got away from the Bobcats late in the 4th and the Heat wound up winning by 16 points by a score of 97-81. Let’s recap this one, shall we?
Living in South Florida, it’s no surprise at all to find a few Heat fans at my house whenever the Bobcats and Heat square off. Recent history shows that more times than not, the Heat fans wind up being the happy ones as they had won 12 straight over my beloved Bobcats heading into last night’s matchup. No Mario Chalmers, no Ray Allen, no Udonis Haslem, no problem at all for the Heat. The Cats were without Al Jefferson for this one as they have been for the better part of the season, so they needed guys to continue to step up and make plays to help the team win as they have so far this season.
The 1st quarter started in front of the 19,000+ fans at Time Warner Cable Arena and the Bobcats got off to a 9-7 early lead over the Heat. There would be only one lead change of game for the Cats, and that would be when the Heat took it over, and they never gave it back. Lebron James had 2 highlight dunks in the 1st quarter. His 1st came off a telegraphed pass from Kemba Walker where he jumped on the pass, stole it and took it to the other end of the floor to do what he normally does. The 2nd dunk was a bit more sickening as the Heat got into they're offense after an Anthony Tolliver missed 3-pointer (plenty of those). Following the miss, Lebron streaked up the floor past a clueless Bismack Biyombo where Norris Cole found him wide open for a 2-handed jam that had every Heat fan in my house riding Lebron like he was a horse and they just bet money on him at the Kentucky Derby.
It was 26-16 at the end of the 1st quarter and I quickly began to ask myself, “What is this team made of?” and “How much fight do we have as the game moves forward?” My questions would quickly be answered as Gerald Henderson kept the Cats in the game with 9 points in the quarter off of mainly jump shots. Henderson stepped up huge when we couldn't buy a basket and it was huge because the Bobcats were getting stops on the defensive end as they held the Heat to 19 points. Kemba Walker contributed to Henderson’s cause as he drained a 3-pointer right in Norris Cole's face with his 1989 Kid 'N Play hybrid haircut. The score was 45-41 at halftime and I began chirping at the other Heat fans in my living room. I was spouting stuff like, “you guys just had you're chance to bury us and you didn't do it, in other words you just lost this game”. I spoke confidently in my Charlotte Hornets Beanie, but knew the Bobcats needed to remain consistent and get some big time performances from unlikely sources. As hard as I knew it would be, I was confident we would beat the Miami Heat.
Trash talk ensued in my living room on how cotton candy soft I think Lebron is and the 2nd half was about to begin. The Bobcats came out with fight as Kemba Walker drained a 3-pointer and then hit a layup through contact as he was fouled for the and 1. The score was 47-47 and we had new life and I had more trash talk for the Heat fans at my house. The Heat responded with a 7-0 run and took a 54-49 lead behind 5 points from Chris Bosh. The Cats showed toughness know and responded with 6-0 run of their own off 4 made free throws from Kemba and 2 from Bismack Biyombo of all people. The Heat would close out the rest of the quarter out-scoring the Bobcats 14-6 to take a 68-60 lead into the 4th quarter. Miami had momentum and I needed some hearing aid because Heat fans in my casa were on a high as Kemba Walker became the latest victim of Lebron's signature chase down block.
The 4th quarter began and I had little to no clue who the heck was going to score outside of Kemba. It seemed like the end was near and 2 things signaled the end of the Bobcats chances to win this game.
1. Chris Andersen hitting a 15 foot jump shot
2. Kemba Walker attempting and missing a dunk
Both of these marked the end for the Bobcats against the Heat as they were outscored 29-21 in the 4th quarter as the Heat took their 13th consecutive victory over the Bobcats 97-81. Still scratching my head on why Kemba tried to dunk that ball it was real out of character for him and now my friends have something to use against me for a while.
The night concluded with the all too familiar “we will get them next time” catch phrase I use every time we play the Heat. This game had its positives though we became the first team this season to hold the Heat below 100 points which I think speaks to our improvement this year. Along with that we committed 7 less turnovers then Miami as we won the turnover battle 15-8. On top of that we had more offensive rebounds (10) to Miami's (6). One has to think what would have happened on the offensive glass had Al Jefferson played but that’s another discussion for another day.
All in all the game was a heck of a lot closer than the score indicates and the Bobcats have made strides on defense this season. We had our chances to knock down some shots but Josh McRoberts and Anthony Tolliver combined to shoot 1-13 from beyond the arc and it cost us dearly. Its 10 games we are 5-5 and I’m happy with that so far.