Lebron James logged a game-high 34 points, grabbed eight boards and dished out six assists to help his Heat team overcome a 60-53 halftime deficit. "We knew if we wanted a chance to win this ballgame that our team defense would have to be better than what we showed in the first half," James said after the game.
The Bobcats led by "double-double" machine Al Jefferson (22 pts-14 rebs), played a near flawless first half shooting 60 percent from the field while outscoring the Heat 34-20 in the paint.
Four minutes into the third quarter Charlotte saw their floor general Kemba Walker go down with a severe ankle sprain that required teammates to carry him off the floor and it became evident that the energy in Time Warner Cable Arena shifted to concern for the star point guard.
Ramon Sessions played well in Walker's absence, tallying 16 points and five assists in 37 minutes including a fast break tomahawk jam in King James' mug late in the third. That play was a shot in the arm for the Bobcats who were trying hold off a second half surge from the Heat.
Charlotte would take a one point lead into the fourth quarter and managed to go toe-to-toe with the champs in the final stanza, ending regulation in a draw after James missed an 18-footer as time expired that would have broken the tie at 90.
After Chris Bosh hit a 16 foot baseline jumper to open the extra period, the Heat would never trail again, keeping the Bobcats at bay with stingy defense and timely baskets from James. The result was a 104-96 victory that Miami felt they desperately needed after starting the week with three straight losses.
The Bobcats (17-25) will continue their three-game homestand with a visit from the Toronto Raptors on Monday, set to tip-off at 2 pm ET to commemorate the Martin Luther King Jr holiday.
Miami will look to break even on their brutal six-game road trip when they face the Atlanta Hawks on Monday at Phillips Arena.