Miami star Dwyane Wade will be back on the court before long. Judging from their performance so far, the Heat could certainly use him.
Miami will again try for its first win of the season Sunday when it hosts the Charlotte Bobcats.
Oddsmakers from Bodog.com have made Miami -3.5 point spread favorites (NBA Odds) for todays game, the over/under has been set at 185.5 total points (Matchup). Our public betting information shows that 73% of bets for this game have been placed on Miami -3.5 (View NBA Bet Percentages).
Wade averaged 27.4 points last season but missed 31 games with an assortment of injuries and underwent left knee and left shoulder surgery in May. Coach Pat Riley announced Friday that Wade had been cleared to play, but wouldn't put a timetable on his return to the lineup.
"His conditioning is not to the level that he needs it to be for the kind of game we need from him, but this is a big step for us,'' Riley said.
The Heat have struggled to score without Wade. They ranked 28th in the NBA last season with 94.6 points per game last season and have been even worse in their first two games this year.
Miami lost 91-80 to Detroit in its season opener on Thursday and 87-85 at Indiana the following night. The Heat squandered a seven-point lead in the final four minutes against the Pacers.
"We played selfish as a team tonight. We played selfish," said Jason Williams, who had seven assists. "It's pretty self explanatory. I didn't think we gave the game away. I just think they took it away from us."
Rookie Daequan Cook, who didn't play against the Pistons, led the Heat with 17 points on Friday. However, Shaquille O'Neal managed only eight points and seven rebounds in 28 minutes, shot 4-for-13 from the field and had six turnovers.
He managed only nine points and seven rebounds in 29 minutes against the Pistons.
"They muscled him real well," Riley said Friday of O'Neal.
O'Neal has averaged 23.9 points and 8.8 rebounds in eight career games against the Bobcats. Miami is 9-3 all-time against Charlotte, including 5-1 at home, but the teams split their four games last season.
The Bobcats won their first game under new coach Sam Vincent on Friday, beating Milwaukee 102-99. Raymond Felton overcame a virus to total 26 points and 12 assists for Charlotte, which won its season opener for the first time in its fourth season.
Gerald Wallace, who led last year's team with 18.1 points per game, had 22 points and 10 rebounds. Jason Richardson, acquired in a draft day trade with Golden State, missed 10 of his first 14 shots through three quarters but was 4-of-5 in the fourth and finished with 21 points in his Bobcats debut.
``It was trying to do too much,'' Richardson said. ``You're trying to impress the fans first time out. ... I settled down, but I know I've got to perform better than I did today.''
However, Charlotte struggled at the free throw line, making just 22 of 43 attempts. Emeka Okafor missed 10-of-13, and Richardson 4-of-6.
"It feels good to get (the first win) under the belt," Vincent told the Bobcats' official team Web site. "I'm proud of the guys, because they hung in there and fought all the way to the end.
"Whenever you can win a game shooting 50 percent from the free-throw line and missing so many down the stretch, you have to have a bit of luck on your side. It was a big win for us."
By: Marc Young - theSpread.com - Email Us
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