If the current pattern holds true, Chris Bosh will sit out on Wednesday in Miami’s final road game of the preseason.
On Saturday, LeBron James rested against the Spurs and did not play. On Tuesday in Raleigh, N.C., Dwyane Wade took his turn on the bench. The Heat plays the Washington Wizards on Wednesday in Kansas City, Mo., the second stop of the team’s first back-to-back. With the season so close, caution will be the biggest concern — that and figuring out just whom to cut to get the roster down to 15 players for the final week of training camp.
The Heat defeated the Charlotte Bobcats 98-92 at Raleigh’s PNC Arena on Tuesday night before boarding a plane for the middle of the country. The Bobcats front line of center Brendan Haywood and backup Bismack Biyombo posed little challenge to Bosh, who led the Heat in scoring with 21 points on 8-of-12 shooting in 26 minutes. James had 10 points to go along with eight assists, four rebounds, two steals and a block in 29 minutes.
“Every time I have a bad game, I always think about doing better,” said Bosh, happy to make amends for his six-point effort on Saturday. “San Antonio is a good team, but I feel that I have an advantage most nights. If bigger guys feel they have an advantage on me, then I feel I have an advantage on them as well.”
James received a standing ovation before the game when he ran onto the court holding a raised arm. He played every minute of the first quarter, starting the game in fine fashion with an alley-oop to Terrel Harris and then a dunk of his own thanks to a nifty pass from Bosh. The Heat never trailed in the game.
Miami had 13 three-pointers in Saturday’s victory against the Spurs, and the Heat’s outside shooters made 11 of 33 attempts against the Bobcats. Shane Battier, the Heat’s best shooter this preseason, was 3 of 6 from three-point range for nine points. He is 14 of 25 from distance overall.
Ray Allen, who came off the bench for 15 points in 26 minutes, had his best night shooting in a Heat uniform. He was 6 of 9 from the field and 2 of 5 from three-point range. Still, there’s obvious evidence that he is not exactly comfortable just yet with his new teammates. He had five turnovers, leading the team in that category. After committing 26 turnovers against the Spurs on Saturday, the Heat had 22 giveaways against the Bobcats.
Reserve center Josh Harrellson appears to have the 14th spot on the roster locked up but Harris and guard Garrett Temple are making it a difficult decision for Spoelstra for the final spot. Temple is the better offensive player and obviously plays a position of need, point guard, but Harris’ elite defensive skills are undeniable and that trait is something Spoelstra holds dear.
Harris started in place of Wade and had 12 points on 4-of-8 shooting in 22 minutes. His double team with Bosh against guard Gerald Henderson to force a backcourt violation was a highlight. Late in the fourth quarter he scored a key basket to give the Heat a 96-92 lead.
“It’s more nerve-racking this time, but I wouldn’t have it any other way,” said Harris, who made the team last season despite a shortened training camp. “I love the competition.”
Temple played 27 minutes off the bench and had eight points on 3-of-5 shooting. He was 2 of 4 from three-point range and had four rebounds and two assists.
“He’s solid, man,” Wade said. “He’s a floor general on the court, and he’s one of those guys that you can trust he can get you the ball and get you in the offense and, obviously, he can make shots as well. He’s just a solid point guard and a good point guard for any team to have.”
Wade sat out as part of his ongoing rehabilitation for offseason knee surgery.
“I had a good week coming back from China and really hitting hit during practice and in those two games, but now I’m going to be smart with my body and come back Wednesday and Friday,” Wade said.
Wade will play against the Wizards in Kansas City and then again on Friday against the New Orleans Hornets in the final game of the preseason. The season begins Tuesday with the much-anticipated home game against the Boston Celtics.
“I feel like I’ve done a good job of probably doing more than they expected from me at this time,” Wade said. “Just right now I’m being smart and not trying to push it and have any setbacks.”