Originally posted on Fox Sports Carolinas  |  Last updated 12/28/11
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- LeBron James said the Miami Heat didn't play their brand of basketball during the first half of Wednesday night's game. He wasn't sure why, but it just wasn't there for the most star-studded team on the planet. So James decided to take it upon himself to get his squad across the finish line before the home standing Charlotte Bobcats, which had he failed would have been a monumental upset. The Bobcats are a young club with few names known to those other than hardcore hoops junkies. Yet, the combination with the best-known team alive made for a nail biter that came down to the final shot of the contest, with the Heat eking out the 96-95 victory because James did his best to emulate the owner of this evening's opposition. James didn't hit the game-winning shot. That credit, with 2.9 seconds remaining, went to Dwyane Wade, who personified the team's struggles with a 5-for-13, three-turnover performance. Chris Bosh, the other part of Miami's famous trio, played well, though. The former Georgia Tech star electrified the house with a thunderous dunk in the fourth quarter and hit a bevy of big shots. James was more interested in talking about Bosh than himself after the game. "Chris hit those perimeter jumpers, posting," James said. "He had some big shots, he got a big dunk and he played great." Bosh finished with 25 points, but it was James who led the charge. James posted on the lower blocks for much of the first half, which is a new twist to how Miami will try playing every night. But while the Heat weren't defending worth a lick, they weren't scoring with the efficiency that is their norm, either. The team almost appeared as if it was going through the motions for the first two quarters. From Charlotte opening with a burst right out of the gate to its 60-45 halftime margin, the Heat just weren't the Heat. "I don't know, we'll watch film and get better," James said, almost as if he was hiding something. "We know we can't play like we did in the first half. That's not us. (But) it was good to see us turn it around. "We're a veteran ballclub and we got to figure things out and not let a team go up 9-0, or 11-0 or whatever the case may be, because it's going to be an uphill battle all game, and it takes a lot of energy." James moved off the blocks in the second half, and it paid off. He created for himself from the point and the wing. He created for others, as well, and his defense was a vital part of the comeback. With Wade in the locker room nursing an injured ankle for most of the third period and nobody other than Bosh contributing, James hoisted his mates upon his broad shoulders, outscored charlotte by himself in the third quarter, and willed them to victory, just like Michael Jordan did many times in his legendary career. Jordan, Charlotte's majority owner, was watching from the stands and probably saw a bit of himself in James' performance, especially once James cooled off on the showboat act and buckled down to simply play hoops. The new-and-improved James, intent on changing his tattered image, even opted to play along with a fan sitting near Miami's bench who gave the super star an earful. On a night when he scored 35 points, grabbed six rebounds, handed out seven assists, blocked two shots and registered three steals, King James also had time to verbally spar with the fan. "They started with me. But it was all good," he said, smiling. "They pay good money for those courtside seats, the least I can do is interact with them." Even if he soured the fan's night by impersonating a favorite native son in his own back yard.
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