MIAMI (AP) — LeBron James had 19 points and nine rebounds to lead the Miami Heat to a 105-82 victory over the Charlotte Bobcats on Friday night.
Chris Bosh had 18 points and seven rebounds as the Heat completed a three-game season-series sweep of Charlotte. Miami led by 22 after three quarters and rested James, who also had five assists, the entire final period.
The Heat, playing without Dwyane Wade again due to an ankle injury, improved to 11-1 in the star guard’s absence. He is expected back for Sunday’s game at New York.
Derrick Brown had 21 points and nine rebounds to lead Charlotte, which lost its 15th straight. The Bobcats trailed 33-19 after the first quarter and got no closer than 15 points in the second half.
Miami was also without starting forward Udonis Haslem (stomach virus) and reserve forward Mike Miller (ankle).
The absences from forced Miami to have its third different starting lineup in three games. Swingman James Jones (six points on 2-for-7 shooting) started for Wade, and center Joel Anthony replaced Haslem, who got his first start a night earlier at Chicago in place of Ronny Turiaf.
However, the injuries didn’t ease Charlotte coach Paul Silas one bit.
“If Wade, Bosh, and LeBron were out then I’d be smiling,” he said before the game.
The Bobcats were also short-handed, starting the game with just 10 players in uniform. Among the missing were forward Tyrus Thomas (right knee contusion), center DeSagana Diop (left Achilles), forward Corey Maggette (right Achilles), and forward Eduardo Najera (frontal bone fracture).
Then, forward D.J. White was hit in the head in the second quarter and the resulting headache meant he didn’t play in the second half.
The Bobcats, a league-worst 7-51, are in danger of not reaching double-digit victories in this lockout-shortened 66-game season. Charlotte needs three victories in the final eight games.
Miami bounced back after a disappointing 96-86 overtime loss at Chicago on Thursday night that likely ended the Heat’s hopes of getting the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs.
Miami made quick work of the Bobcats. The Heat took a 58-39 halftime lead by shooting 58.5 percent from the field and holding Charlotte to 38.5 percent.
Charlotte didn’t offer much resistance.
Brown had a good night, guard Gerald Henderson chipped in with 14 points, and rookie center Bismack Biyombo had 10 points, eight rebounds and rookie guard Kemba Walker added 11 points.
The Heat reserves, outscored 47-7 by their Chicago counterparts, finished with 44 points and 17 rebounds against the Bobcats. Center Dexter Pittman had a career-best 16 points.
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