NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Tuesday, March 9th (All times eastern)
Miami Heat (32-31) at Charlotte Bobcats (30-31), 7 p.m.
(Sports Network) - Dwyane Wade is doing everything he can to keep the Miami Heat in playoff contention. But, first he has to figure out a way to beat the Charlotte Bobcats when the two teams collide Tuesday in the Tar Heel State.
The Bobcats have won the first two meetings with Miami this season and eight of the previous 12 matchups between the clubs. The Heat have also lost five of their last six trips to the Queen City.
Wade and the Heat are currently seventh in the Eastern Conference standings, just a half-game in front of Chicago, and have ripped off three straight wins, including a 100-94 triumph versus Atlanta on Saturday in the finale of a perfect three-game homestand. Wade recorded a game-high 38 points and had 10 assists for Miami, which has won three straight following a four-game slide. He has notched three consecutive double-doubles, one shy of his career-high.
Michael Beasley provided a big lift with 14 of his 22 points in the fourth quarter and tallied the final seven points of an 8-0 run that put the Heat in front, 98-92, with 46.8 seconds to play in the game.
"(Wade) just punched me in the chest and was yelling, 'I need you,'" Beasley said. "No more feeling sorry for myself. I just have to play. I definitely needed this game."
The Heat will try to snap a two-game slide on the road Tuesday and are 15-17 away from south Florida in 2009-10. In other team news, guard Rafer Alston has been suspended indefinitely from the team, while Jermaine O'Neal (knee) and Dorell Wright (knee) are both questionable against the Bobcats.
Charlotte will try to close out a perfect three-game homestand Tuesday and has won two straight and three of its last five games. In a 101-90 victory versus the Golden State Warriors on Saturday, D.J. Augustin scored 19 points off the bench and Gerald Wallace provided 18 points and 10 rebounds for the Bobcats, who are just a half-game behind the Bulls for the eighth and final postseason berth in the East.
Boris Diaw compiled 14 points and 12 boards, while Stephen Jackson and Theo Ratliff chipped in 12 and 11 points, respectively, in the win.
"Gerald, Boris and D.J. (made the difference in the fourth quarter). We were struggling but I thought those guys did a nice job," said Bobcats coach Larry Brown, whose squad is giving up an average of 94.2 points per game, which is the second-lowest opponent average in the NBA. "We defended great. Their zone made us shoot a lot of jumpers, a lot of three-point shots, but when we started to get the ball in the middle to Boris, he broke the zone down."
Augustin has scored in double figures in each of his last three games, averaging 14.3 points on .533 shooting in that time. The Bobcats enter tonight's game with a 22-8 home record, leaving them one game shy of matching the franchise record of 23 home wins in a season set last season. Charlotte's 22-8 home record is the fourth best in the East.
Bobcats newcomer Tyrus Thomas is averaging 12.7 points, 7.9 rebounds and 2.6 blocks over his first nine games with the team. He had just five points against the Warriors.
03/09 10:32:13 ET