James Lifts Heat over Bobcats 104-96 in OT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — LeBron James had 34 points and eight rebounds, and the Miami Heat beat the Charlotte Bobcats for the 15th straight time, 104-96 in overtime Saturday night.
James scored six points in the extra period, including two driving layups to lift the Heat to their second win in two nights.
Chris Bosh added 25 points and seven rebounds for Miami.
Al Jefferson had 22 points to lead the Bobcats, who were playing their fourth game in five nights.
The Bobcats lost point guard Kemba Walker in the third quarter with an ankle injury.
The crowd of 19,631 was the largest ever to see a Bobcats game at Time Warner Cable Arena on a night in which the team began selling its Hornets gear for the first time. The Bobcats will become the Hornets after this season.
The Heat never trailed in overtime.
James’ two free throws gave Miami a 98-95 advantage.
After Mario Chalmers blocked Jefferson’s put-back try from behind, James then drove to the basket and scored on the right side to push the lead to five with 1:22 left in overtime. He tried the left side on the next possession against Anthony Tolliver and succeed with a driving left-handed layup with 36 seconds remaining to push the lead to six.
Josh McRoberts and Tolliver each had costly turnovers in overtime for the Bobcats, who have lost 10 of their last 13.
The Bobcats led most of the game but the Heat tied the score at 88 when James knocked down a jumper with 5 minutes left in regulation.
But the teams only scored two points apiece in the final 5 minutes of the fourth quarter. Charlotte’s Ramon Sessions air-balled a 17-footer as the shot clock expired and James’ 18-footer rimmed out at the buzzer, sending the game to overtime.
Ray Allen started in place of Dwayne Wade, who rested his knee after scoring eight points in the Heat’s win Friday night at Philadelphia. Allen got the Heat started strong with a reverse layup and a drive down the lane to build an early 9-2 lead and finished with 12 points and nine rebounds.
Greg Oden played in his second game since returning from a long layoff and looked plenty rusty with one point and three fouls in seven minutes.
Charlotte led 60-53 at the half with Jefferson playing strong in the low post. Jefferson came in averaging 29.6 points over the last three games, and had 13 points and five rebounds before the break.
The Bobcats led by seven midway through the third quarter before Walker left the game for good with a sprained left ankle.
The 6-foot-1 Walker blocked a shot on one end of the floor and raced up court for a fast-break layup, but stepped on Chris Bosh’s foot as he shot. Walker immediately went down, pounding the court in obvious pain with his fist while holding his leg with the other hand.
He did not return, finishing with six points and eight assists.
Walker has played in 190 straight games, the second-longest streak in franchise history.
Ironically, Jefferson missed the first two regular season games after he stepped on Bosh’s foot in the preseason and turned his ankle.
NOTES: Along with Wade, Chris Andersen did not play for the Heat. … James heard it from the fans after air-balling a 3-point attempt late in the first quarter.