NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Friday, April 5th (All times Eastern)
Miami Heat (58-16) at Charlotte Bobcats (18-57), 8 p.m.
(Sports Network) - It's understandable Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra wants his players rested and ready for the playoffs and may not have his top contributors again Friday in a matchup with the Charlotte Bobcats.
LeBron James (hamstring), Dwyane Wade (ankle), Ray Allen (ankle) and Mario Chalmers (ankle) are all doubtful Friday for the Heat, who are 2-2 since their 27-game winning streak came to a close. James has missed two straight games and is fourth in the NBA with 26.9 ppg.
Wade has been sidelined in back-to-back games and is posting averages of 21.3 points, 5.0 rebounds and 5.0 assists.
The Heat had a two-game winning streak cut short with Tuesday's 102-90 loss versus the New York Knicks as Carmelo Anthony took advantage of a depleted Heat squad for 50 points. New York had a 24-14 edge in the fourth quarter.
"We probably ran out of a little steam in the fourth quarter," Spoelstra said. "They took it to another level and we weren't able to go to that level in the fourth quarter."
The loss ended a 17-game home winning streak for the Heat, the East's top seed and champion of the Southeast Division.
Miami is 26-12 on the road this season and can match the 2004-05 squad with 59 wins Friday night. The 1996-97 version of the Heat won a franchise best 61 games. In other milestone news, James is 18 points shy of 21,000 in his career, but he may have to wait to get there.
Charlotte looks to string back-to-back wins together and is coming off Wednesday's 88-83 win over the visiting Philadelphia 76ers.
Gerald Henderson scored 24 points and provided the go-ahead basket in the final minute for the Bobcats, who halted a three-game slide. Josh McRoberts added 12 points and 16 rebounds, and Kemba Walker netted 17 points with 10 assists in a winning effort.
"We're just trying to compete and finish the season right," Walker said.
Henderson is averaging 25.8 ppg in his last five games for Charlotte.
The Bobcats are 12-25 at home this season and will start a three-game trip Saturday against Brooklyn, Memphis and Detroit. The Bobcats are 5-1 in their last six home games, averaging 103.2 ppg in that time, and have scored 100- plus points in four of those six games.
Charlotte has lost the first three meetings with Miami this season and has been swept in each of the last two series between the division foes. Miami has won 11 in a row against the Bobcats, losers in four straight at home to the defending champion Heat.
04/05 10:18:31 ET