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Wade leads Heat rally past Bobcats 100-96

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[December 09, 2008]  MIAMI (AP) -- Dwyane Wade scored 41 points, 10 in the final 8 1/2 minutes to help the Miami Heat rally in the fourth quarter and beat the Charlotte Bobcats 100-96 on Monday night.

Mario Chalmers scored 15 and Shawn Marion added 13 points for the Heat, who extended their winning streak to four -- their longest in nearly two years.

InsuranceJason Richardson scored 24 for Charlotte, but missed two free throws that would have tied the game with 32.3 seconds remaining. Emeka Okafor added 19 points and 12 rebounds for the Bobcats, who lost to Miami for only the second time in the teams' last eight meetings.

The Bobcats were without starting forward Gerald Wallace, who missed the game because he was in Alabama to mourn the death of his grandmother. Charlotte coach Larry Brown said he expected Wallace to return to the team on Friday -- meaning the 15.3-point scorer will likely miss games at New Orleans and Dallas later this week.

Without Wallace, the Charlotte bench did its part to pick up the slack.

D.J. Augustin scored 14 points and Adam Morrison added 13, including a long 3-pointer from the left wing with 6.7 seconds left that drew the Bobcats to 98-96.

But Wade sealed his night -- and the win -- with two free throws a half-second later.

Miami was down by seven with 8:21 remaining when Wade went to work, driving the lane for dunks that even left the Bobcats' bench speechless, leaping over players for rebounds, and finding Marion for a short jumper with 1:01 left that put the Heat ahead to stay.


And yes, the requisite "M-V-P" chants were back in the final moments, as Wade finished off his seventh game of at least 35 points already this season -- by far the best in the league. Entering Monday, Cleveland's LeBron James was second on the 35-or-more list this year, getting there four times.

Wade leaped over two defenders for a defensive rebound with 4:11 left, dribbled to the other end, split two more defenders and drove the lane for a thundering dunk that tied the game at 86.

He also got the benefit of a late whistle, raising Charlotte's ire: Dudley was called for a block with 1:30 remaining against Wade, who made both free throws to put Miami up 90-88.

Augustin hit a 3-pointer with 1:11 to play that gave Charlotte a 91-90 lead, but Wade coolly brought the ball down on the ensuing possession, looked over a soft double-team to find an open Marion, and the Heat never trailed again.

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The Heat entered averaging 19.7 points off turnovers per game this season, and defense has been the cornerstone of everything Heat coach Erik Spoelstra has preached this season.

But Miami created little in the form of takeaways on Monday, and that meant the Heat simply couldn't build any sort of sizable lead.

Charlotte had just three turnovers -- which Miami turned into exactly zero points -- in the first half, a major reason why, even though Wade had piled up 22 points at the midway point, the Heat went into the locker room leading only 51-48.

Wade got his scoring total up to 31 after the third quarter. Problem was, his teammates only contributed six points in the period, combining to shoot 3-for-11, and the Bobcats led 68-66 entering the fourth.

Notes: Rappers Lil Wayne and Bow Wow sat courtside, and University of Miami standout Jack McClinton -- a good friend of injured Heat forward Dorell Wright -- also was in attendance. ... Heat center Jamaal Magloire needed seven stitches to repair a cut right elbow in the first half, after he took a tumble while fighting for a rebound. ... Bobcats reserve Alexis Ajinca scratched his right cornea in the first half, after scoring four points in his only 2 minutes of playing time.

[Associated Press; By TIM REYNOLDS]

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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