(7-14, 1-6 away)
(12-9, 7-3 home)
7:30 PM ET, December 8, 2008
AmericanAirlines Arena, Miami, FL
Fourth quarter, 4:10 remaining, Heat down by two. Wade leaps over two players to snare a defensive rebound with his outstretched right hand. He turns around, dribbles upcourt, splits two defenders near the top of the key and drives the lane for a thundering dunk over Charlotte's Emeka Okafor.
• With his 41 points, Miami's Dwyane Wade tied LeBron James with his third game of 40 points or more this season. Chris Bosh has two games of at least 40 points.
• Miami now has 12 wins, a year removed from a season in which it had 15 at season's end.
• The Bobcats lost for just the second time in their last eight games against the Heat.
-- ESPN research
"It was just winning time," Wade said after the Heat's 100-96 victory over the Charlotte Bobcats.
Yep, he was just about unstoppable again.
Wade scored 41 points, 10 in the final 8½ minutes to lead the Heat back from a seven-point deficit for their fourth straight win -- extending Miami's longest streak since the 2006-07 season.
"He took over the game," Charlotte's Jason Richardson said.
He's been doing that with regularity so far this season.
Adding to his NBA-best scoring average, Wade was 12-for-22 from the floor, 15-for-19 from the line, and added eight rebounds for good measure as the now-requisite cries of "M-V-P" serenaded him from the stands. He even found Shawn Marion for the basket with 1:01 left that put Miami ahead to stay and gave the Heat just their second win in the last eight meetings with Charlotte.
"This team never goes away, kind of like us," Wade said. "They're young, youthful and athletic. We knew it was going to be a battle. We just had to stop them on the defensive end."
Mario Chalmers scored 15 points and Marion finished with 13 for Miami.
Richardson scored 24 for Charlotte, but missed two free throws that would have tied the game with 32.3 seconds remaining. Okafor added 19 points and 12 rebounds for the Bobcats, who were without their second-leading-scorer Gerald Wallace, who was in Alabama to mourn the death of his grandmother.
"Anything could have happened had I made those free throws," Richardson said.
Without Wallace, the Charlotte bench did its part to pick up the slack.
But Wade sealed his night -- and the win -- with two free throws a half-second later.
"What I was really encouraged by was the end of the game," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. "We did a lot of things technically not right ... but at the very, very end, I felt we won that game defensively."
Charlotte missed six straight shots in the latter stages, including one trip where Yakhouba Diawara simply smothered Richardson and forced him into a bad miss as the shot clock expired.
"We played well enough to win," Charlotte coach Larry Brown said. "We missed a layup, some free throws, tough things happened. But Wade was great. He's playing at such a high level."
It was Wade's seventh game of at least 35 points already this season -- most in the league.
He also got the benefit of a late whistle, raising Charlotte's ire: Jared Dudley was called for a block with 1:30 remaining against Wade, who made both free throws to put Miami up 90-88.
Augustin hit a 3-pointer with 1:11 to play that gave Charlotte a 91-90 lead, but Wade coolly brought the ball down on the ensuing possession, looked over a soft double-team to find an open Marion, and the Heat never trailed again.
"Hey, I was just cutting and he found me," Marion said. "I'm really good at moving without the ball, it was just a breakdown in their defense and we got a bucket out of it."
Charlotte had just three turnovers -- which Miami turned into exactly zero points -- in the first half, a major reason why, even though Wade had piled up 22 points at the midway point, the Heat went into the locker room leading only 51-48.
Wade got his scoring total up to 31 after the third quarter. Problem was, his teammates only contributed six points in the period, combining to shoot 3-for-11, and the Bobcats led 68-66 entering the fourth.
They extended the margin to seven, but left Wade just enough time to take over.
"He's a superstar," Augustin said.
Rappers Lil' Wayne and Bow Wow sat courtside, and University of Miami standout Jack McClinton -- a good friend of injured Heat forward Dorell Wright -- also was in attendance. ... Heat center Jamaal Magloire needed seven stitches to repair a cut right elbow in the first half, after he took a tumble while fighting for a rebound. ... Bobcats reserve Alexis Ajinca scratched his right cornea in the first half, after scoring four points in his only 2 minutes of playing time.
Team Stat Comparison
|FGM-FGA||34-78 (.436)||32-75 (.427)|
|3PM-3PA||10-20 (.500)||6-15 (.400)|
|FTM-FTA||18-26 (.692)||30-41 (.732)|
|Fast Break Points||5||12|
|Fouls (Tech/Flagrant)||29 (0/0)||20 (0/0)|