Miami Heat vs. Charlotte Bobcats: Preview, Analysis and Predictions

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Miami Heat vs. Charlotte Bobcats: Preview, Analysis and Predictions
USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Heat (58-16) are travelling to take on the Charlotte Bobcats (18-57) in a game between the Eastern Conference’s best and worst—by record—teams.

It looks to be incredibly lopsided on paper, but with LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Mario Chalmers potentially sitting out, anything is possible.

Let’s take a look at where you can watch this nationally televised contest, which players to keep an eye out for, a prediction on the final score and much more.

 

When: Friday, April 5 at 8 p.m. ET

Where: Time Warner Cable Arena, Charlotte, N.C.

Watch: ESPN, SUN (MIA), FSCR (CHA)

Live Stream: ESPN3, NBA League Pass (paid subscription required)

 

Heat Injury Report (via USA Today)

F LeBron James, Hamstring, Questionable

G Dwyane Wade, Ankle, Questionable

G Mario Chalmers, Ankle, Questionable

 

Bobcats Injury Report (via USA Today)

F Byron Mullens, Ankle, Questionable

G Jeffery Taylor, Foot, Doubtful

C Brendan Haywood, Ankle, Out

C DeSagana Diop, Knee, Out

G Ramon Sessions, Knee, Out

 

Heat Player to Watch: Chris Bosh

If James and Wade aren’t active in this contest, it will once again fall on Bosh to lead the Heat on both ends of the floor.

The star power forward is certainly up to the task and used to being the main guy from his time in Toronto. It seems that he hasn’t skipped a beat now that he’s assuming that role again.

He further proved his go-to status with a huge three-pointer with the clock running down to win the game against the San Antonio Spurs on Sunday, while also doing his best to keep the Heat in contention against the surging New York Knicks on Tuesday.

During that two-game stretch, Bosh has averaged 23 points, 7.5 rebounds, 3.5 assists and one block. He shot 15-of-28 from the field and connected on four of eight three-point attempts.

If he’s able to get it going, Bosh will lead Miami to a win against the ‘Cats on Friday.

 

Bobcats Player to Watch: Gerald Henderson

After a rough beginning to the 2012-13 campaign, Henderson has rebounded in a huge way.

In the 23 games since the All-Star break, this swingman has upped his scoring average from 12.8 PPG to 19.7 PPG, improved his rebounding from 3.4 per game to 4.3, upped his assists from 2.0 to 3.1 per contest and is shooting 48 percent compared to 43.1 earlier in the year.

While it hasn’t coincided with much winning, the Bobcats have been looking better with both Kemba Walker and Henderson scoring a decent amount of points.

It’s going to take a superhuman effort from this former Duke standout to get past the Heat, but perhaps if the majority of Miami’s stars sit and Henderson gets hot, the Bobcats could pull off an upset.

 

Prediction

Which team will win?

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Even if the Heat go into this one shorthanded, we project that they’ll come out ahead and pick up an easy win in Charlotte.

The Bobcats are a young team that is still trying to figure things out, while even the Miami reserves are laden with postseason experience and come from a winning culture.

Should James, Wade and Chalmers be sidelined, this could be closer than you think, but ultimately the Heat will pull away and claim victory on Friday evening.

Heat 94 – Bobcats 88

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