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Bobcats hit the road to take on unbeaten Heat

Dwyane Wade and the star-studded Miami Heat will aim to remain perfect on the young season when they welcome the Charlotte Bobcats to South Beach for New Year's Day action.

LeBron James celebrated his 27th birthday in style on Friday in Minneapolis when he scored 34 points but it was his inbounds pass to Wade that resulted in the go-ahead alley-oop layup with 4.6 seconds left, as the Heat edged Minnesota, 103-101.

It was the second straight game-winner Wade has deposited in the final seconds. On Wednesday, his short jumper with 2.9 seconds left lifted the Heat to a 96-95 win at Charlotte.

D-Wade was at it again two nights later. Playing despite a sore left foot, Wade curled around the lane and escaped Minnesota defenders to receive a perfect pass from James and converted the go-ahead bucket.

"It's not easy to win in this league on the road," Wade said. "Time is short and we're trying to get it going as fast as we can. We're trying to get our game and we still have a lot of work to do."

James also had 10 assists, eight rebounds and four steals, while Wade scored 19, one less than teammate Chris Bosh. Miami's 4-0 start matches the club record, also set in 2004-05.

"We expected it. This is a very young and talented team," Bosh said of the close outcome. "We watched the game they had against Oklahoma City. We knew we were going to be in for a bell fight. They played a great game. We were able to execute down the stretch. We had to capitalize after a couple of costly turnovers at the end, but it all worked out."

The Bobcats, meanwhile, were trounced by Orlando on Friday when Dwight Howard finished with 24 rebounds and 20 points, powering the Magic to a 100-79 win over the Bobcats in the Queen City.

Corey Maggette had 20 points and seven rebounds to lead the Bobcats, who have dropped their last two. D.J. Augustin added 14 points for Charlotte while Byron Mullens had a career-high 12 points.

"The last three minutes I had to tell them, you guys have to execute," Bobcats coach Paul Silas said. "We were just dribbling, dribbling, dribbling, clock running down on us."

Charlotte forward Tyrus Thomas hasn't played yet this season because of a sprained ankle and will remain on the bench today but the talented big man did work out on the treadmill Friday and could return next week.

Miami has won six consecutive games in the series including last Wednesday's win in Charlotte. The Bobcats have also lost six of their last seven in Miami and they are just 3-11 all-time in South Florida.