For a while, it seemed as if the feisty Charlotte Bobcats just flat-out had the Miami Heats number. The Cats had taken down the Heat six times in their previous eight meetings, including a 100-97 win over Miami back in November. So when Charlotte came to town last December, it looked to be another long night for our team. Charlotte outscored Miami 20-15 in the third quarter, while Emeka Okafor scored 19 pounds and grabbed 12 rebounds. But Dwyane Wade would not let the Cats have their way with the Heat again. He went 12 for 22, pouring in 41 points while grabbing eight rebounds and adding three assists, including one to Shawn Marion with 1:01 left to put Miami over the top, 100-96. With just four minutes remaining, Wade made a spectacular one-handed rebound by hurdling over two Bobcats. He then drove down court, cut through the Charlotte double-team, and dunked over the six-foot-ten Okafor. It was vintage Wade undaunted, relentless, inexorable. This Sunday night at the American Airlines Arena, the Heat needs to step up once again. That, and get the hell out of the way and let D-Wade do his thing. Tip-off is at 6.
Sun., Feb. 8, 6 p.m., 2009