Richardson gets hot behind 3-point arc as Heat pass Bobcats

MIAMI -- Dwyane Wade was limited to 14 points, center Jermaine O'Neal was sidelined, and the Miami Heat still won.

Quentin Richardson scored all 18 of his points on first-half 3-pointers, Michael Beasley added 16 points and the Heat beat Charlotte 77-71 to pass the Bobcats for sixth place in the Eastern Conference.

Wade had 14 points on a poor shooting night, but made up for it with nine assists and five blocks to help Miami move a half-game ahead of Charlotte.

"I made the effort plays tonight," Wade said. "I made sure I continued to feed my teammates and we ended up getting a good win."

Good enough to beat the Bobcats for the first time this season.

Stephen Jackson led Charlotte with 18 points, Gerald Wallace added 15, and Boris Diaw had 12 in the Bobcats' worst shooting night of the season.

After putting together a 9-0 run midway through the third to take a one-point lead, Charlotte failed to score a basket for the final 4:30 of the period -- and the drought from the field lasted late into the fourth.

The Bobcats' first nine points in that period came on free throws until Raymond Felton made a floating jumper with 3:01 left to cut the Heat's lead to five. The Bobcats ended up shooting 29 percent from the field.

"We defended great but we just made some bad decisions down the stretch," Charlotte coach Larry Brown said. "We had pretty good shots. A lot of them had to come from the outside but they were there.

"When you're shooting the ball poorly you have to make sure you don't give them second shots and you don't turn the ball over."

Still, the Bobcats kept it close. Miami put together a 10-0 run mostly behind Beasley to make it 71-61, and Charlotte kept sinking its free throws to climb back into it.

Wallace made a layup to cut to two at the 1:24 mark, but Mario Chalmers made three free throws down the stretch to give the Heat the lead for good. In the end, the 71 points allowed by Miami was the fewest in the history of the 24-game series.

"We were just active, covering ground, getting out on guys, bothering shooters," said Dorell Wright, who finished with seven points. "That's how we're going to get wins. We just had to bring energy from early on."

It started with Richardson, who kept Miami alive in the first half. With O'Neal out because of a sprained left ankle and Wade failing to find his shot early, Richardson kept Miami in it with his 3-pointers.

The Heat got off to a 13-4 start, then didn't score in the final 3:20 of the first quarter.

Wade had five points midway through the game, while Richardson kept hitting baskets from deep. He converted his first four shots, all 3s, then had a couple of 3s in the second period to tie it at 41. His six first-half 3s tied a franchise record.

Game notes
Wade scored in double figures for the 443rd game, topping Alonzo Mourning's franchise record. Wade is Miami's career leader in assists, points, steals, field goals made and free throws made. ... Heat president Pat Riley turned 65 on Saturday. ... It was Charlotte's first visit to Miami since the NBA's Board of Governors unanimously approved Michael Jordan's $275 million purchase of the team. As a show of respect, Riley retired Jordan's No. 23 in Miami several years ago, even though he never played for the Heat. Jordan watched the game from a row above Riley's seats... The Heat have a blocked shot in 197 straight games, tying the second-longest run in franchise history. Miami's record is 238 straight.