Heat Hope to Find Winning Ways vs. Bobcats
Posted Nov 25 2006 12:04PM
NBA.com Daily Confidential
The Miami Heat will try just about anything to break out of their slump. A Saturday visit to Charlotte to play a Bobcats team they usually dominate could help.
The Heat, who are 7-1 all-time against the Bobcats franchise which began play in 2004-05, will try to avoid losing a season-high fourth consecutive game. Miami did have one four-game losing skid last season en route to its first NBA championship, from Dec. 3-9, 2005.
Not even a lineup change could help the injury-riddled Heat from losing 107-104 at home to Orlando on Friday. Coach Pat Riley gave forward Jason Kapono and guard Dorell Wright their first starts of the season, while struggling veterans Antoine Walker and Gary Payton came off the bench.
Kapono and Wright combined for 27 points, but the Miami (4-8) bench was outscored 32-8 by the Orlando reserves. Walker had four points and Payton did not score in 12 minutes.
``We're struggling right now, so Coach wanted to change up the lineup,'' said Walker, who is averaging 3.2 points over his last five games while shooting 17.5 percent from the field including 1-for-19 from 3-point range. ``That's not really my concern. I'm more concerned with us winning and losing and me getting back to playing basketball the way I'm capable of playing.''
Despite four other players scoring in double figures Friday, All-Star guard Dwyane Wade continues to carry Miami. Wade scored 33 points and had a career-high 15 assists. He's averaging 27.1 points this season and has reached the 30-point mark five times.
Against the Magic, Miami outscored Orlando by 14 with Wade in the game, but got outscored 19-2 when he sat.
``The thing about these kind of games is that it comes down to tough stops,'' Riley said. ``When we got back in the game, we could not stop them enough.''
Riley could have guard Jason Williams back in the lineup Saturday. Williams has missed the last two games with knee soreness, which also forced him to miss the first seven games of the season after undergoing offseason surgery.
Charlotte (3-9) will try to avoid its fourth loss in five games. The Bobcats couldn't hold on to an early fourth-quarter lead and lost 104-95 to the Detroit Pistons on Friday. Detroit scored eight straight points in the period to take the lead for good.
Even with center Emeka Okafor - who scored 26 points against Detroit - playing well and guard Brevin Knight back in the lineup after missing Wednesday's 92-83 win over Boston with a strained left calf, Charlotte has struggled to find offensive consistency.
``We made some critical mistakes,'' Charlotte coach Bernie Bickerstaff said after losing to the Pistons. ``We had some shots that weren't the best and we turned the ball over in critical times.''
The Bobcats are averaging just 91.9 points per game and have failed to reach 100 in any of their last six contests.
Charlotte's only win over Miami came at home, 94-92 on Mar. 26, 2005.
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