Richardson helps Heat beat Bobcats

MIAMI (AP) — Quentin Richardson scored all 18 of his points on first-half 3-pointers, Michael Beasley added 16 points and the Miami Heat beat Charlotte 77-71 on Saturday night to pass the Bobcats for sixth place in the Eastern Conference.

Dwyane Wade had 14 points on a poor shooting night, but made up for it with nine assists and five blocks to help Miami move a half-game ahead of Charlotte.

Stephen Jackson led Charlotte with 18 points, Gerald Wallace added 15 points, and Boris Diaw had 12. The Bobcats won the season series 3-1.

After putting together a 9-0 run midway through the third to take a one-point lead, Charlotte failed to score a basket for the final 4:30 of the period — and the the drought from the field lasted late into the fourth.

The Bobcats' first nine points in the fourth came on free throws until Raymond Felton made a floating jumper with 3:01 left to cut the Heat's lead to five. The Bobcats ended up shooting 29 percent from the field.

The 71 points allowed by Miami was the fewest in the history of the 24-game series.

Still, Charlotte kept it close. Miami put together a 10-0 run mostly behind Beasley to make it 71-61, and Charlotte kept sinking its free throws to climb back into it.

Wallace made a layup to cut to to two at the 1:24 mark, but Mario Chalmers made three free throws down the stretch to give the Heat the lead for good.

With center Jermaine O'Neal sidelined and Wade failing to find his shot early, Richardson kept Miami alive with his 3-pointers. The Heat got off to a 13-4 start, then didn't score in the final 3:20 of the first quarter.

Wade had five points midway through the game, while Richardson kept hitting baskets from deep. He converted his first four shots, all 3s, then had a couple of 3s in the second period to tie it at 41. His six first-half 3s tied a franchise record.

NOTES: Wade scored in double figures for the 443rd game, topping Alonzo Mourning's franchise record. Wade is Miami's career leader in assists, points, steals, field goals made and free throws made. ... Heat president Pat Riley turned 65 on Saturday. ... It was Charlotte's first visit to Miami since the NBA's Board of Governors unanimously approved Michael Jordan's $275 million purchase of the team. As a show of respect, Riley retired Jordan's No. 23 in Miami several years ago, even though he never played for the Heat. Jordan watched the game from a row above Riley's seats... The Heat have a blocked shot in 197 straight games, tying the second-longest run in franchise history. Miami's record is 238 straight.