Heat-Bobcats Preview

The Associated Press

The Miami Heat were one of the NBA's top offensive clubs during their run to the 2012-13 title, and they appear to be even more potent behind a red-hot LeBron James this season.

The Heat, however, might not be at full strength in the second of back-to-back games Saturday night.

With Ray Allen already out, Dwyane Wade also could be sidelined when visiting Miami seeks its 13th straight win over a surprising Charlotte Bobcats team that will be without Al Jefferson.

The Heat will also be without guard Mario Chalmers after he was suspended one game after being ejected from Friday's 110-104 victory over Dallas. Chalmers was thrown out with 5:01 remaining after referees ruled he intentionally swung an elbow at Dirk Nowitzki's head while trying to fight through a screen set by the Mavs' Samuel Dalembert.

After leading the NBA in field-goal percentage (49.6) and ranking in the top five in scoring (102.9) during its 2012-13 championship season, Miami (6-3) tops the league again in shooting percentage (52.5) while sitting among the top five in scoring (107.1).

The Heat reached 100 points for the ninth straight contest, shooting 54.1 percent from the field against the Mavericks.

After scoring a season-high 39 on 14 of 18 from the floor in the win, James ranks among the league's scoring leaders (27.0 ppg) while shooting a career-best 61.0 percent and making 15 of 29 from 3-point range.

''You give me 37 shots in a game, I'll have 60, 70,'' James said. ''I had 40 tonight on 18 shots. If I get 37 shots in a game, I'm going to put up 60. Easy.''

Although he missed the final meeting due to a strained right hamstring, James averaged 30.0 points on 70.2 percent shooting with 9.3 rebounds and 8.6 assists in his three meetings with the Bobcats last season.

Wade finished with 17 points, eight assists and a career-high eight steals Friday, but he may be held out as part of the team's strategy to keep him healthy throughout the season. In Miami's only other back-to-back games, Wade played against Chicago in the season opener before sitting out a 114-110 loss at Philadelphia the following night.

James, Chris Bosh and Allen teamed for 66 points with Wade out in that contest, but Allen will not travel to Charlotte because of an illness that has caused him to miss the last two games. Starting forward Udonis Haslem also has missed three games due to back spasms.

The Bobcats (5-4) have the difficult assignment of trying to slow the Heat as they seek a third straight win and their first victory over Miami since March 9, 2010 - before the James era. Following an 86-80 win at Cleveland on Friday, they've given up a total of 163 points on 39.1 percent shooting in consecutive victories.

''It's a new season, new guys, a new staff, new everything,'' Michael Kidd-Gilchrist said after scoring 16 against the Cavaliers. ''I'll take this win. I'll take any win we can get this season. One step at a time.''

The Bobcats, however, will be without Jefferson after he sat out Friday because of an ongoing ankle injury. The starting center is averaging a team-high 15.0 points and 8.7 rebounds but has only played in three of the team's nine games.

Though he's scored 14.6 per game on the season, Kemba Walker has totaled 27 while missing 35 of 43 shots in his last three. He averaged 17.5 per game despite shooting 35.4 percent in last year's season series with the Heat.

The Bobcats averaged just 85.5 points while dropping four meetings with Miami by an average of 15.0 points last season.

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