CHARLOTTE, N.C., Oct. 26 (Ticker) --
The Miami Heat could have
used Shaquille O'Neal
against the Charlotte Bobcats.
O'Neal, the biggest offseason acquisition in the league, sat out
with a left hamstring injury as the Bobcats cruised past the
Heat, 82-74, in a preseason contest.
Reserve forward Theron Smith paced the expansion Bobcats with 16
points, including 10 in the first half, and nine rebounds.
Smith scored 44 points in 20 games for Memphis last season, his
rookie campaign out of Ball State.
Melvin Ely added 14 points and Tamar Slay had 12 for the
Bobcats, who limited the Heat to 39 percent shooting (26-of-67).
Steve Smith scored all of his 11 points in the first half as the
Bobcats took a 45-34 advantage into the break. Charlotte led
Dwyane Wade had 15 points to lead a balanced scoring attack for
the Heat. Rasual Butler and free agent acquisitions Michael Doleac and Keyon Dooling added 13 apiece.