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Heat 109, Bobcats 77

The SportsXchange

MIAMI -- The Miami Heat, chasing the NBA record for longest winning streak and playing without second-leading scorer Dwyane Wade, kept their run alive by beating the Charlotte Bobcats, 109-77, Sunday night at AmericanAirlines Arena.

LeBron James had 32 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds to lead the Heat, who have now won 26 consecutive games -- seven short of the record set by the 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers.

The Heat has also won 17 consecutive home games, one short of the franchise record.

Wade, a shooting guard who is averaging 21.5 points, sat out due to a bruised right knee suffered in a previous game, possibly against the Boston Celtics. Mike Miller, who had played a total of five minutes in the past four games, started in place of Wade.

While there was no Wade, the Heat still had James, who had 14 points in the first half and added 14 more in the third quarter. The Heat had a 73-57 lead after three quarters and cruised from there.

The Bobcats, who have lost 11 games in a row in their series with the Heat, fell to 16-54 this season, the worst record in the NBA. Charlotte also lost its eighth straight road game.

The Bobcats, though, started fast, putting together a 15-3 first-quarter run. They took an 11-point lead, forcing to the Heat to try to catch up from a double-digit deficit for the fourth straight game. No problem, though -- the Heat ended the first quarter on a 15-0 run, and Miami took a 47-39 lead into halftime.

NOTES: Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said that even though Chris Anderson's shot-blocking numbers aren't huge, the reserve post player has made an impact. "He seems to alter six or seven shots a game," the coach said. "And he is a solid target on (alley-oops) because he is really big once he gets off the ground. (Plus,) I am encouraged by where his conditioning is at now. I think he can handle 15 to 20 minutes." ... Charlotte started the day 38.5 games behind the Heat in the Eastern Conference. ... The Bobcats picked up the contract of backup guard Jannero Pargo for a second 10-day period. ... Bobcats forward Josh McRoberts, acquired from Orlando for Hakeem Warrick on Feb. 21, has played well for Charlotte. In his past six games entering Sunday, McRoberts had four games in which he had double figures in points and three in which he had double figures in rebounds. For the season, he is averaging 4.9 points and 4.1 rebounds. It remains to be seen if the Bobcats re-sign McRoberts, who is a free agent after the season. ... Bobcats coach Mike Dunlap on guard Kemba Walker: "He's improved from last year. All the stats say that. But he also leads us in charges taken, deflections and getting 50-50 balls. I'm impressed by how he'll let us coach him on the defensive end." ... Up next, the Heat start a four-game road trip with a game at Orlando on Monday. ... The Bobcats return home to play host to Orlando on Wednesday.
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