NBA: Heat 96, Bobcats 95
CHARLOTTE — When Dwyane Wade was told he was going to take the winning shot against the Charlotte Bobcats, he nearly deferred to the hotter LeBron James.
Then Wade thought better of it.
“When (coach Erik Spoelstra) called it, I was shocked because this guy had it going on,” Wade said, pointing to James. “I wasn’t in the flow. I was about to say, ‘Let LeBron run it.’ Then I said, ‘You know what, I’ll do it.'”
And he did.
With James in the corner, Wade brought the ball up, drove to the left side and banked a 10-footer over Gerald Henderson with 2.9 seconds remaining Wednesday night to lift the Heat to a 96-95 victory over the pesky Bobcats to remain unbeaten at 3-0.
After Wade’s shot gently fell through the net, he turned to Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton seated courtside and imitated Newton’s popular Superman touchdown celebration by pretending to rip open his shirt.
“It’s a great homage to him,” Wade said. “He was laughing. He was cracking up. But it was great respect to him. I wasn’t trying to show nobody up. It’s about how much respect we have for the athletes.”
The Bobcats had a chance to steal one at the buzzer, but D.J. Augustin’s 3-point attempt off a side inbounds play didn’t fall and D.J. White’s follow at the buzzer rolled off the rim as time expired.
Wade, who missed almost the entire third quarter with a bruised foot, only had 10 points on 5 of 13 shooting.
James led all scorers with 35 points, while Chris Bosh added 25. They combined for 35 second-half points to overcome a 60-45 halftime deficit.
Henderson led the Bobcats with 21 points, including a 3-pointer with 12 seconds remaining to give the Bobcats the lead at 95-94. Augustin finished with 20 points, while center Boris Diaw turned in another terrific game with 16 points, 16 rebounds and eight assists.
James said he wasn’t upset Wade got the last shot.
“I guess that’s why they give him the big bucks,” laughed James.
“Hey, they deserved to take my money today,” Wade said. “But I earned my money toward the end.”
Said James: “D-Wade said he finally earned it. He didn’t play well tonight but, hey, nobody cares about what else you do after you hit a game-winner like that. That was a big shot by him.”
But it was James who brought the Heat back, taking his team on his shoulders in the third quarter.
“I feel good and this is the best I’ve felt in a while,” James said. “I’m back to having fun playing the game and doing what I do best and that’s attacking and getting to the free throw line.”
James was 9 for 9 from the foul line.
The Heat needed to dig deep after a sluggish first half in front of a crowd of 19,614 fans, the largest ever to see a Bobcats game at Time Warner Cable Arena.
They had plenty of help from the Bobcats, who turned the ball over 12 times on 25 third-quarter possessions.
“In the third quarter, we turned it over too many times,” Bobcats coach Paul Silas said.