THE FACTS: The Miami Heat were without LeBron James, Dwayne Wade and Ray Allen, but its veteran bench stepped up to make a difference on both ends of the court. Mike Miller scored a season-high 26 points to lead a depleted Heat squad to an 89-79 win over the Charlotte Bobcats at Time Warner Cable Arena Friday night.
Chris Bosh added 18 points and Rashard Lewis 14 for the Heat (59-16). Michael Kidd-Gilchrist led the Bobcats (18-58) with 18 points and 14 rebounds as Charlotte lost for the 12th straight time to Miami.
QUOTABLE: "Mike [Miller] was hot from behind the arc tonight and was very impressive. He's a big time weapon that we have. He's bought into the sacrifice and the long season and how he's a value for us. He can strike it hot at any moment and was invaluable for us without Dwayne and LeBron out there."
--Miami coach Erik Spoelstra
THE STAT: Miami took advantage of one of its strengths and one of the Bobcats biggest weaknesses. The 3-point shot. The Bobcats are 29th in the league in 3-point field goal defense and allow a league-worst 8.8 on 3s per game. Tonight, Miami made 13 from behind the arc and sank 37.9 percent of its attempts. Charlotte is now 2-30 on the season when the opposing team makes 10 or more 3-pointers. They allow 9.5 makes in their losses this year and give up just 6.2 in the wins.
TURNING POINT: The Heat came out aggressively on the offensive end to start the second half and quickly built a double-digit lead. Mike Miller's 3 with 8:37 to play in the third put Miami ahead 57-47. The Heat's defense stopped Gerald Henderson on the defensive end and then connected with Mario Chalmers for a floater and a 12-point lead.
QUOTABLE II: "It's the Miami Heat way. Defense leads us to offense. Tonight, we made enough shots to win the game. I just wanted to get out there and be aggressive. I feel great right now. My body feels good. I'm healthy for once and I just want to get out here and compete and contribute. "
--Miami guard Mike Miller
HOT: Miller was on fire for the Heat for much of the game against Charlotte. Miller got the start in place of the injured Wade and scored a game- and season-high 26 points. Miller was 9-of-15 from the floor and more importantly connected on 7 of his 11 attempts from the 3-point line. He also added four assists and five rebounds in 30 minutes of action. It was his first game of 25 or more since scoring 32 against Toronto on January 22, 2011.
NOT: The Bobcats duo of Kemba Walker and Henderson is normally a barometer of the team's success. Tonight, they combined for just 23 points and 5-for-31 shooting. Henderson entered the game averaging almost 26 points in his previous five contests. He scored eight points in the first quarter, but tallied only three the rest of the way to finish 2-for-16 from the field. Walker wasn't much better from the field with a 3-for-15 night.
FANTASY SPOTLIGHT: Bosh has been the clear beneficiary of the rest given to James, Wade and Allen over the last three games. He scored 18 points and grabbed eight rebounds while dishing out six assists in the win over Charlotte. Bosh gave the Heat the game winning bucket against San Antonio and led the team in scoring two of the past three games. He has put up solid numbers, averaging 21.3 points while shooting 50.0 percent (21-for-42) from the field, 45.4 percent from 3 (5-for-11), and 94.4 percent (17-for-18) from the free-throw line.
INSIDE THE ARENA: Despite being inactive for the game, James was out on the Time Warner Cable Arena floor getting in a pre-game workout. James came on the floor after those playing for the Heat cleared the floor and then signed autographs for those waiting before heading back to the locker room. Carolina Panthers coach Ron Rivera was in attendance, as well as Actor John Cho. A fan hit a half court shot in the Harrah's Cherokee Casino Lucky 7's contest during the fourth quarter and walked away with $7,777.
ROOKIE WATCH: Kidd-Gilchrist was spectacular for the Bobcats. He was tops for the Bobcats in both points (18) and rebounds (14) in 38 minutes of action. The 14 boards was a career high. Jeffery Taylor returned from an injured foot to play six minutes and scored three points.
NOTABLE: Josh McRoberts recorded double-figure rebounds for the third straight game becoming the first Bobcats player to do so since Gerald Wallace did so from February 4-7, 2011. ... Walker and Henderson both scored in double figures for the 18th straight game. Walker also recorded his 27th game this season with three or more steals. ... The Bobcats grabbed a season-high and franchise-record tying 23 offensive rebounds. ... The Miami Heat have now won 12 straight over the Bobcats and swept the season series. It's the third longest active winning streak against an opponent for Miami. ... The 59 wins by Miami is the second most in franchise history. Their 59-16 start is the best start through 75 games in franchise history. They are just two shy of the record of 61 wins set during the 1996-97 campaign. ... The 31.8 percent shooting by Charlotte was a season-low for the Miami defense.
UP NEXT: For the Heat, Saturday vs. Philadelphia, Tuesday vs. Milwaukee, Wednesday @ Washington. For the Bobcats, Saturday @ Brooklyn, Tuesday @ Memphis Friday @ Detroit.