LeBron leads Heat into Charlotte
Southeast Division combatants meet in the Queen City studded Heat to face off with the Charlotte Bobcats.
The Heat have started the season brilliantly, first garnering a measure of revenge for their NBA Finals loss against the Dallas Mavericks on Christmas Day before following that with another victory over rival Boston on Tuesday.
Rookie Norris Cole played a big role off the bench versus the Celtics with 20 points, including 14 in the final quarter, as Miami held off Boston, 115-107.
James added 26 points and Dwyane Wade had a solid all-around game with 24 points, eight assists and four blocks for Miami. The Heat, who beat the Celtics in five games in the Eastern Conference semifinals last season, also received 18 points and 11 rebounds from Chris Bosh.
"It was some big shots from him," James said of Cole's play. "For us, we have confidence in whoever is on the floor at the time. He's been putting in a lot of work. He's always shooting after practice. He's always in the right spots to make those plays."
D.J. Augustin helped the Bobcats open their season on a winning note Monday when he scored five of his 19 points in the final 66 seconds as Charlotte pulled out a 96-95 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks.
Augustin also handed out eight assists, while Gerald Henderson added 18 points and nine rebounds for the Bobcats, who trailed by as many as 14 points in the second half before staging a comeback.
Last season, Charlotte finished one game behind Milwaukee with a 34-48 record, and the clubs were involved in a three-team offseason trade in an attempt to alter their lottery-laden history. The biggest name in the deal, Stephen Jackson, was a non-factor for the Bucks on Monday, fouling out with 3:56 left in regulation after scoring just six points.
Corey Maggette, who was also involved in the aforementioned trade, donated 12 points and seven rebounds for the Bobcats, while rookie Kemba Walker totaled 13 and seven boards in his professional debut.
"We stayed together and kept fighting," Augustin said. "It was a crucial win."
Charlotte, which will finish a three-game, season-opening homestand against Orlando on Friday, has started 2-0 just one previous time in franchise history (2007-08).
Miami has won five straight over the Bobcats and swept the four-game season set a year ago. These two clubs will meet again Sunday in South Beach.