Final / OT
(31-47, 12-27 away)
(42-35, 25-13 home)
6:00 PM ET, April 8, 2007
AmericanAirlines Arena, Miami, FL
MIAMI -- As Dwyane Wade walked onto Miami's home court for the first time in 6 1/2 weeks, Charlotte coach Bernie Bickerstaff called timeout, deflating what was a raucous greeting from the Heat crowd.
And that wasn't all the Bobcats did to spoil Wade's fun on Sunday night.
Dwyane Wade returned to the active roster for Miami for its overtime loss to the Bobcats. The Heat are 8-7 this season with both Wade and Shaquille O'Neal on the court and 1-6 with neither of them. But if you could have only one of them, who would you choose? Miami is 17-15 in games that Wade played without O'Neal and 16-7 with Shaq and no Wade.
• Read more Elias Says.
Gerald Wallace scored 30 points, Walter Herrmann hit two big 3-pointers in the final minute and the Bobcats ruined Wade's return from a dislocated left shoulder by beating the Heat 111-103 in overtime -- a loss that seriously hurt Miami's hope of having a home-court edge for the first playoff round.
"It's exciting to get back, but at the end of the day, you always want to win. You always want to come back and help your team win," Wade said. "I came back and at times, I looked OK and at times, I didn't."
That summed up Miami's night.
Wade played 27 minutes, scoring 12 points on 3-for-9 shooting from the field and 6-for-12 from the foul line -- part of a costly Heat effort from the stripe. Miami was 26-of-44 from the line and that, combined with a season-high 26 turnovers, was simply too much for the defending NBA champions to overcome.
"When you don't play as hard as you can play, you make 26 turnovers and the other team is shooting over 50 percent, you're going to have a very difficult time," Heat coach Pat Riley said. "Plus missing 18 free throws, I don't know how you can win."
Especially when Charlotte -- a team now 16 games under .500 -- plays nearly flawlessly in overtime. The Bobcats were 6-for-7 in the extra session, with Herrmann going 3-for-3, all from 3-point range, including two daggers in the final 43 seconds.
Raymond Felton had 16 points, Hermann had 15 and Okafor and Brevin Knight each scored 13 for the Bobcats. Jake Voskuhl added 12 for Charlotte, which was without rookie forward Adam Morrison, who missed his first game of the season with a sprained left knee tendon.
"They're a veteran team and they maintain their poise all the time, so you know they were going to make a run," Bickerstaff said. "But I'm more impressed that we didn't succumb."
So were the Heat.
"Their energy, you've got to give them a lot of credit," Heat forward James Posey said. "They made plays. They fed off one another and we couldn't stop them."
Wade could have won it in regulation; his turnaround jumper with 1:02 left pulled Miami within 92-91. His short jumper was blocked by Emeka Okafor 33 seconds later, but after the Heat got a stop Wade was fouled by Felton with 2.4 seconds left.
But Wade only made the second of the two free throws, and after Wallace couldn't get a shot off before the horn sounded, the teams went to overtime knotted at 92.
"I had a lot of turnovers tonight. I missed a lot of free throws," Wade said. "But one thing about me, you don't have to worry about that. I won't do that too often."
Alonzo Mourning led Miami with 20 points on 9-for-10 shooting, part of the Heat's 59-24 edge in bench scoring. Jason Kapono had 19 points, Shaquille O'Neal scored 15 and Eddie Jones added 10 for Miami.
Wearing a black sleeve to help protect his dislocated left shoulder, Wade played for the first time since a Feb. 21 injury that forced him to miss 23 games. He entered with 3:58 left in the first quarter, as fans roared when he rose from the bench to check into the game.
Wade took his share of contact, too. He was knocked down for the first time in the third quarter after colliding with Voskuhl, initiated a bump when he head-faked Jeff McInnis in the air on one of his signature moves a few minutes later, and ran off and through screens with no problem.
"No pain tonight," Wade said.
But even with Wade making his return, the first half was a struggle for the Heat. They shot 64 percent in the opening two quarters and still trailed 57-49, largely because of 14 turnovers that led to 11 Charlotte points.
And in the third, things got worse -- for a while, anyway.
Charlotte opened the second half with seven unanswered points, five by Felton, to build a 65-49 lead with 10:26 left in the period. When Voskuhl hit a jumper with 1:06 left in the third, the Bobcats were up 78-65.
But with Wade back on the floor and running the offense, the Heat finally put together a big run.
Wade found Kapono for a 3-pointer to end the scoring in the third, and out of Miami's five unanswered baskets early in the fourth, Wade scored one and had assists on three others, pulling the Heat into a 78-all tie. And when Antoine Walker scored inside with 7:39 left, Miami had its first lead since the opening minutes.
It wouldn't last, though, and Wade's night was tinged by a major disappointment. The loss knocked Miami two games behind Toronto for a home-court spot in the first round; both teams have five games left.
"We just didn't make enough plays," Riley said.
It was Miami's seventh overtime game of the season, first at home. ... The Bobcats had 20 steals, the most allowed by Miami this season.
Team Stat Comparison
|FGM-FGA||40-83 (.482)||36-67 (.537)|
|3PM-3PA||8-18 (.444)||5-14 (.357)|
|FTM-FTA||23-29 (.793)||26-44 (.591)|
|Fast Break Points||12||14|
|Fouls (Tech/Flagrant)||30 (3/0)||22 (2/0)|