LeBron has made himself at home during the closing minutes of the third quarter when Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh head to the bench. James' 17-point third period on Monday was his second-best scoring quarter of the season. The iso outburst was a simulation of his vintage Cavs seasons, when he ruled the floor with impunity.
The only thing that checked Wade early was his foul trouble. Once he got off the bench in the second quarter, Wade was completely relentless, attacking the basket at every opportunity off high screens and handoffs. Wade's activity also helped the Heat wake from their first-quarter defensive doldrums.
On paper, this looked like a tailor-made game for Bosh, matched up against Boris Diaw in a half-court contest. But Bosh never got into the flow of the offense and was deliberate both with his shot and movement. Want a silver lining for Bosh? His solid pick-and-roll defense was a boon for the Heat.
Even though he has all the offensive skills of a lawn tool, Anthony continues to put his defensive handprint on basketball games. He had three blocks, 11 rebounds -- the most in a game since 2008 -- and was a decisive factor as a help defender on countless Bobcats possessions.
Without Gerald Wallace, the Bobcats lose one of their signature strengths -- their stifling defense on the wings. They could've used it against Wade and James, but the primary culprit on Monday night was Charlotte's chronic inability to generate high-percentage shots. The Bobcats desperately need a way to create more offense, but just don't have the creators to do so.