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James leads Heat past Bobcats
Charlotte, NC (SportsNetwork.com) - LeBron James poured in 30 points in just 32 minutes to lead the way in the Miami Heat's near wire-to-wire 97-81 victory over the Charlotte Bobcats at Time Warner Cable Arena.
James knocked down 13-of-18 shot attempts and added seven assists in his efficient outing, with Michael Beasley contributing 15 points off the bench to Miami's third straight win and sixth in seven games following a 1-2 start.
Charlotte returned home off impressive road decisions over Boston and Cleveland, but was dealt a 13th consecutive defeat to the reigning world champions despite Kemba Walker's 22 points. Jeff Taylor scored 14 points in the loss, while Gerald Henderson posted 13 along with seven rebounds.
Though Miami never trailed after the game's initial stages, the Bobcats hung tough for much of the way, battling back from a 16-point second-quarter deficit to tie the contest at 47-47 on Walker's 3-point play around two minutes into the second half.
Charlotte trailed by just one midway through the third quarter, but a technical foul on Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra appeared to spark his team. The infraction came amidst an 8-0 Miami run that Beasley capped with an outside jumper to put the Heat up by a 62-53 count with 2:42 to go in the period.
"I looked at LeBron before we ran out on the court and said we're going to need a big game from [Beasley] tonight," said Heat guard Dwyane Wade. "He gave it to us."
The Bobcats never got within six points the rest of the way, with Miami putting the game out of reach via another 8-0 spurt that put Charlotte in an 89-72 hole with under four minutes left.
"We struggled scoring the ball," said Taylor. "We missed a lot of shots that we are very capable of making. We got shots, they just didn't go down for us."
Miami owned a slim 19-16 edge with under three minutes to play in the first quarter, but reeled off 13 straight points to create some distance.
The Heat's reserves did most of the damage during the burst. Beasley netted five points and Rashard Lewis had four over that stretch, with the former's putback just over a minute into the second quarter staking Miami to a 32-16 advantage.
"It was great to see us come out tonight with a lot of energy in spite of the close game we had last night [against Dallas]," said James.
Charlotte closed the first half with a flourish, however, with Henderson and Walker each draining 3-pointers as part of an 8-0 spurt that brought the Bobcats within 45-41 at intermission.
Heat point guard Mario Chalmers sat out the contest while serving a one-game suspension for throwing a forearm at Dallas' Dirk Nowitzki in Friday's win over the Mavericks. Norris Cole started in Chalmers' place and tallied eight points, seven rebounds and five assists ... Guard Ray Allen (illness) and forward Udonis Haslem (back spasms) also sat out for Miami ... Bobcats forward Josh McRoberts dished out a game-high nine assists to match a career best, set against Milwaukee on Apr. 13 of last season ... Charlotte hasn't bested the Heat since Mar. 9, 2010, the season prior to James' arrival in Miami ... Wade managed just four points on 1-of-7 shooting in 23 minutes.
11/16 23:21:52 ET
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