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Heat 101, Bobcats 97: Miami barely edges Charlotte in Game 2

Charlotte Bobcats 97 FinalRecap | Box Score 101 Miami Heat
Josh McRoberts, PF 37 MIN | 3-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 4 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 8 PTS | +14

McRoberts made the most of the three-pointers he took, but he was a little too hesitant when he found himself wide open. Some of that has to do with the Heat’s ability to recover and challenge shots on defense, but he still needs to keep Miami from getting too complacent.

On the other hand, his passing was as strong as usual and he mixed in a few nice drives. He’s also lucky he didn’t get a flagrant foul for a late elbow to LeBron’s head – I doubt it’ll lead to a suspension, but I’m sure the refs will be paying more attention to him in the future.

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, SF 34 MIN | 9-13 FG | 4-5 FT | 10 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 3 TO | 22 PTS | +11

MKG’s best game of the season, bar none. The Heat defense generally played off of him and gave help elsewhere, and it’s encouraging that Kidd-Gilchrist responded by attacking the basket. His defense on LeBron was very good as well, but James still put up a 32-8-6 line. It’s important to look at the process and not the product, though — Kidd-Gilchrist did an excellent job of limiting James while still offering help elsewhere, and the defense as a whole looked very spotty when he wasn’t on the floor. He’s not going to score 22 points every game, but if he get minutes he’ll still have a big impact.

Al Jefferson, C 40 MIN | 9-23 FG | 0-0 FT | 13 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 18 PTS | +2

This is probably more of a B game, but Big Al gets a perfect score for gutting out what looks like an incredibly painful foot injury. He clearly had trouble establishing deep position, but still managed to score where he could and bullied the Heat on the boards.

He drew double-teams while playing on one leg. A+ game, A+ year.

Kemba Walker, PG 45 MIN | 5-18 FG | 2-2 FT | 3 REB | 8 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 16 PTS | +2

This was the ultimate Kemba game, good and bad. Decent but inefficient scoring, some good playmaking, excellent ballhandling with relatively few turnovers, solid defense, clutch clutch clutch.

On the whole, though, the team will need more from him if they want to steal a game. He was oddly passive in the first half, with five of his seven shots coming from three-point range, then went nuts in the second frame. He was actually just a little too aggressive, forcing up some wild shots with the night on the line. Hopefully he can make some adjustments before the next game.

Gerald Henderson, SG 32 MIN | 5-11 FG | 5-7 FT | 4 REB | 1 AST | 3 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 15 PTS | -1

Gerald’s best games come when he gets to the line, and he had the benefit of the whistle tonight. His overall game is solid enough that he’s usually a plus, but it’s hard not to watch him and wish he was just a bit better on either side of the ball.

Anthony Tolliver, PF 7 MIN | 1-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 3 PTS | -9

One three-point attempt, one three-point make. These were just spot minutes, but I think it’d be nice to see him get a little more burn. The team needs shooting from somewhere, especially when Gary Neal is having an off night.

Cody Zeller, C 11 MIN | 1-2 FG | 1-2 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 3 PTS | -15

The statline looks better than the tape. He spent most of the night flying around the court, at one point flinging himself at least 15 feet into the crowd after tipping in an offensive rebound. He also fell down a few times for no reason, which is somehow becoming a trend for him in this series. It’s hard to blame him for some playoff jitters, but the bench is so much better when he’s giving them solid minutes. Just relax, Cody.

Luke Ridnour, PG 3 MIN | 1-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 3 PTS | -6Ridnour only got three minutes of playing time, which is a pretty good indicator of how bad he looked. Addressing back-up point guard should be one of the top priorities in the offseason.

Gary Neal, SG 15 MIN | 1-8 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 3 PTS | -17

Neal followed up Saturday’s very solid game with a complete botch. His usually reliable floater wasn’t falling, and the jumper wasn’t much better — and when Neal isn’t scoring, he doesn’t have much else to offer.

His bad pass in the game’s final seconds also iced the game for Miami, which put a crap exclamation point on an overall crap night.

Chris Douglas-Roberts, SG 16 MIN | 2-4 FG | 2-3 FT | 4 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 6 PTS | -1

CDR had some pretty good minutes spelling Henderson, and he fits in relatively well next to the other starters. Playing him next to MKG gives Charlotte a decent option on a night when they need shooting and aren’t getting it from Neal.

Bismack Biyombo, C DNP COACH’S DECISION MIN | FG | FT | REB | AST | STL | BLK | TO | PTS |

Biyombo picking up a DNP-CD on a night when Al Jefferson was hurting can’t give him much confidence. Still probably the right call.

Two Things We Saw

  1. Tonight reflected a problem Charlotte’s had all year: They have a very strong starting unit, but generally get let down by the bench. Four of the team’s five starters had a positive +/-, and Gerald Henderson was the only exception at -1. The Bobcats squandered a good start over the final 5:30 in the first quarter, dropping from a tie game to a 10-point deficit. They’d go on to tie or win every quarter after that.It’ll be interesting to see what the front office does this offseason. While they could bring in a scoring wing or find more offensive production at power forward, grabbing a steady veteran or two or three for the bench might be more important.
  2. The ending was obviously a disappointment, but this was still an amazing game for Charlotte. There were so many times the team could have packed it in, and they closed the gap every time. It’s looking more likely they’ll be able to steal one in Charlotte, even with a hobbled Al Jefferson.