CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP)—Minutes after watching the Miami Heat miss shot after shot in another uninspiring performance that ended in a 91-76 loss to the Charlotte Bobcats, coach Pat Riley was asked what he could do to generate some offense.
“Me? Play. I guarantee you I should suit up. I’d play better than some of them right now,” Riley said Tuesday night. “I guarantee it. I swear to God. With an old hip and 62-years-old and I can’t see, I’ll play better than some of my guys tonight. Come on, they were pretty bad.”
And it’s becoming routine. With Dwyane Wade watching again from the bench, his knee still not ready to play, the Heat fell to 1-6 by managing 12 points in both the first and third quarters in an effort that left Shaquille O’Neal despondent.
“It was very, very embarrassing,” O’Neal said.
Emeka Okafor added 13 points and 10 rebounds as the Bobcats ran at every opportunity against the aging Heat, who appeared to have little to give two nights after winning their first game in New York.
“You grandfather playing time to all your starters or guys that have been in the rotation and you’re losing games,” said Riley, who suggested a players-only meeting. “Eventually you’ve got to shave the beard and either look younger or get somebody else in there. You can’t continue like this.”
O’Neal had 17 points and six rebounds, but got little help. While O’Neal shot 7-of-14, the other four starters combined to shoot 9-for-34. No other play scored more than 10 points as Wade watched from the bench in a tan jacket.
“We’ve got to make shots,” said Wade, who has yet to play after offseason knee surgery. “One person is not going to save us.”
And with Wade saying he was unsure if he’d play Wednesday against Seattle, the Heat are searching for ways to turn around their league-worst offense after going 1-of-7 from 3-point range.
“There have been a few bright moments but we’re not coming together consistently,” Riley said.
The Bobcats did, two nights after blowing a fourth-quarter lead in a loss to Houston.
Richardson and Wallace, each shooting less than 40 percent coming into the game, combined to make 15 of 26 shots and grab 15 rebounds. Okafor had his sixth double-double in seven games as the Bobcats moved above .500 for the latest time in their four-year history.
“I’m happy with the progress we’re making on defense,” coach Sam Vincent said. “I think we’re finally understanding the system we’re trying to incorporate.”
Wallace brought the small crowd to its feet when he blocked O’Neal in the lane late in the third quarter. Matt Carroll then hit a 3-pointer on the ensuing possession to put the Bobcats ahead 67-42.
Charlotte outscored Miami 31-12 in the third quarter, finally providing a little offense in a game featuring the two lowest-scoring teams.
They combined for 12 field goals and 39 missed shots in the first quarter as the Bobcats took a 17-12 lead.
The Heat didn’t reach 20 points until 6:49 remained in the second quarter and fell behind 38-25 on Richardson’s alley-oop dunk. But the Heat finally found some offense by pounding it inside to O’Neal and got within 40-35 at halftime on Udonis Haslem’s layup.
But the Heat had nothing in the second half until the bench scored 29 points in the fourth quarter after the game was decided. They surpassed their previous franchise low of 56 points—set in Charlotte against the Hornets in 2000—with 5:39 left.
By then, Ricky Davis (2-for-12 shooting) and Haslem (4-for-13) were done for the night. But Riley kept pacing the sideline, thinking he could hit an open shot.
“It’s not humorous,” Riley said. “But we were pretty bad across the board.”
O’Neal was 3-of-6 from the foul line. One of his makes banked in. … Riley named Haslem team captain. “We didn’t have any official captains last year, but Udonis is really the heart and soul of this team now,” Riley said. … Vincent said he’s “pushing” F Othella Harrington to test his left knee for the first time Wednesday in Atlanta. Harrington is recovering from arthroscopic surgery.