NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Monday, March 3rd (All times Eastern)
Charlotte Bobcats (27-32) at Miami Heat (42-14), 7:30 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - Mask or no mask, LeBron James is still seeing things clearly on the court. James and the surging Miami Heat look to keep rolling Monday versus the visiting Charlotte Bobcats.
James, wearing a protective face mask because of a broken nose, led the Heat to their seventh straight win on Saturday in a 112-98 defeat of the Orlando Magic. James had scored 30-plus points in each of the previous five games and compiled 20 points on 8-of-12 shooting with nine rebounds and seven assists.
James is averaging 33.2 points in his last six contests.
Dwyane Wade led Miami with 24 points and Chris Bosh added 17. No other Miami player scored in double figures. It didn't matter because the Heat shot a sizzling 58.1 percent to improve to 10-1 in the last 11 games and 23-4 in South Beach.
Miami, which had a 102-79 lead over the Magic at one point and sits 2 1/2 games behind Indiana for the East's top spot, is unbeaten in its last four home games and will start a three-game road trip Tuesday against Houston, San Antonio and Chicago.
While James has been hot for the majority of the season, Wade has started to come around. Wade is posting an average of 20.7 points and 5.0 assists in his last 10 games, and shooting 62 percent in that time.
"I'm in one of those grooves right now," said Wade. "(I'm) taking my shots, some of them are wide-open, some are not, but I'm just taking the shots that I'm comfortable with."
The Heat have an impressive 32-2 record when holding opponents under 100 points and is 24-2 in the last 26 games against Southeast foes.
Charlotte is from the Southeast and has lost all three of its games against the Heat this season. The Bobcats are mired in a 15-game losing streak to the Heat, who have a 28-10 overall mark in this series.
The Bobcats are winless in eight straight and 16 of the 19 games in Miami.
A win Monday for the Heat would give them a sweep of this Charlotte series for a fourth consecutive season.
Charlotte's four-game winning streak is in the past and it has dropped back- to-back games on a grueling three-game road trip. The trip started with Friday's loss at San Antonio and continued with Sunday's 116-99 setback to Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Durant and Westbrook combined for 54 points and the Thunder shot 50 percent from the field, holding the Bobcats to 44.1 percent shooting. Al Jefferson paced Charlotte with 25 points and Anthony Tolliver netted 17 off the bench.
The Bobcats committed 18 turnovers for 25 OKC points and were outscored by a 31-18 difference in the fourth quarter.
"We just made too many mistakes in the fourth quarter, turned the ball over (seven times) they really picked up the defensive pressure," Jefferson said.
Charlotte, currently the seventh seed in the East, is 12-18 on the road and will face a pair of stiff challenges coming up at home versus Indiana and Cleveland. Indiana has All-Star Paul George and Cleveland owns All-Star Game MVP Kyrie Irving.
03/03 10:27:55 ET