Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade (3) drives to the basket as Charlotte Bobcats forward Emeka Okafor (50) defends during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Charlotte, N.C., Friday, April 3, 2009. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)
The Bobcats are learning a lot during their late season playoff run. One thing they probably wish they wouldn’t have learned as much of is losing close games as they fall 97-92 to the visiting Heat.
Yes, they have been giving a lot of effort toward the end of games. But at this point, just like their playoff run, it seems to always be too little, too late.
The Bobcats led by 15 early but could not hold on as their bench played ineffectively in the second quarter. Miami was able to chip away and tie the game at 45 with a Mario Chalmers three right before the half.
Gerald Wallace, who led the Bobcats with 21 points, eight rebounds, and two fourth quarter blocks on Dwayne Wade, had this to say after the game.
“It was another game that we gave away. Our mentality coming out of the gate was great. We came out and did exactly what we wanted to do. We jumped on them.”
Both teams brought the energy in the third quarter, as Miami received much support from their rookies and their bench, particularly Daequan Cook who scored 16 points and grabbed seven rebounds.
“I brought a lot of energy tonight. I got some defensive stops and that usually fuels my offense.”
Dwayne Wade was shut down for the most part by Raja Bell until Bell popped his right calf muscle midway thru the third.
“Then we got lackadaisical, and that’s something that we tend to do when we have confidence in what we’re doing out on the court when we’re scoring and playing defense,” said Wallace. “That’s just something that you can’t do in this league.”
Dwayne Wade scored 14 of his 27 and dished out seven of his 10 assists in the fourth quarter as the Heat took over the game.
“It’s very rewarding to win here because it’s been hard for us to get a win in Charlotte. They play us tough and they’ve beat some great teams. They play great on both ends.”
The win boosts Miami into the playoffs a year after winning only 15 games the year before. Head Coach Eric Spoelstra has turned the young team around and should get coach of the year consideration.
“This is a big step for our franchise, for Pat Riley and everybody who put this team together after last season. People take this for granted, regardless of our MVP candidate (Wade). I think it’s only happened once in the history of the NBA, where a team had 15 wins and came back (the next season) and made the playoffs.”
The playoffs chances are becoming more slim each time the 34-42 Bobcats lose as they fall 2.5 games behind Detroit for the eighth spot.
“Every game is definitely critical”, said Bobcats point guard Raymond Felton. “Six more. We’ve got to go 6-0.”