MIAMI -- If Dwyane Wade had to pick a game to sit out with a bruised right knee, this was the one.
A mismatch on paper between the teams with the NBA's best record -- the Miami Heat -- and worst record -- the Charlotte Bobcats -- was made a little closer with the absence of Wade.
But thanks to LeBron James, Miami had more than enough to subdue the Bobcats, 109-77, Sunday night at AmericanAirlines Arena to extend the second-longest winning streak in NBA history to 26 games.
James had 32 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds to keep the Heat on track in its chase of the 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers' record of 33 consecutive wins.
But while Wade sat out the game, he did play a role. Donning a white spots coat, Wade took the television microphone and interviewed James after the game.
"What does it say about this team, when you have a superstar out and the rest of the guys step up?" Wade asked James, referring to himself as the superstar.
James responded with a serious face.
"When you have a superstar like 'WOW' (Wade) out, Norris Cole gave us a big boost, Mike Miller hit a couple of threes to start the game," James said. "When you have a superstar Hall of Famer out, everyone else needs to step up."
Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said he doesn't mind his players having fun.
"They have personalities -- big, infectious personalities," Spoelstra said. "They are fun to be around, and they don't mind coming to work. But the point is, when it's time to go to work, go to work. It's not clown-around time.
"That's what I gauge -- our shoot-arounds, our meetings and our film sessions -- that we treat them as professionally as we can. Our guys -- they get it."
As the Heat continues its pursuit of history, Spoelstra is hoping his team gets Wade back soon.
"We're going to be proactive," Spoelstra said of Wade, the Heat's second-leading scorer at 21.5. "Hopefully he will get some treatment and feel better (Monday). He got hit in the knee a few games ago and then in the Celtics game he re-aggravated it when he collided knees with someone.
"It's just sore and bruised. He's been playing through it, but it hasn't been getting better."
Miller, who had played a total of five minutes in the past four games, started in place of Wade and had six points, four assists and three rebounds in 22 minutes.
"That's where our depth shows through," Spoelstra said. "It's not easy for those (reserves). There is a tremendous amount of work that goes on behind the scenes to not only keep their bodies ready but to stay into it mentally.
"The toughest part is that you don't know when your number is going to be called. Our top 10 is pretty set, but the other guys know that, at some point, we're going to need them."
James, who had had 14 points in the first half, added 14 more in the third quarter and shut it down after 34 minutes of playing time.
The other Heat scorers in double figures were Cole (15), Chris Bosh (15) and Ray Allen (14).
The Bobcats put together a 15-3 first-quarter run, taking an 11-point lead and forcing 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.
The Heat took a 47-39 lead into halftime.
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.
Kemba Walker led the Bobcats with 20 points, and Gerald Henderson added 18 points. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist had 13 points and 10 rebounds, and Bismack Biyombo had a game-high 11 rebounds.
"(The Heat) is still a great team without Wade," Henderson said. "It's going to take a game where they miss a lot of shots to beat Miami, and the other team is going to have to play really well the whole game."
Bobcats coach Mike Dunlap said his team got off to a fast start because they did not turn the ball over and let the Heat run.
"We also made shots, but that dried up," he said. "Our defense had to hold the line for a long time. We worked hard, but we settled for too many threes (5 of 25), and that's not who we are.
"Free throws didn't become a factor for us, and when we got them, we didn't make them (only 67 percent)."
Dunlap gave credit to the Heat, though, saying Miami is playing with a "we" instead of "me" mentality. In fact, the Heat and San Antonio Spurs are two teams that Dunlap studies and shows film of to his players in hopes of emulating their championship ways.
"Once you win a championship, it puts something into your brain," Dunlap said, "and your heart beats a little differently. I see it every day when I watch film of (the Heat)."
NOTES: 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 missed Sunday due to injury. ... Dunlap on 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.