After losing at home already to Oklahoma City, Washington and Memphis, the Heat knew better than to take any team for granted at AmericanAirlines Arena this season.
Dwyane Wade is having a difficult time getting to the free throw line - or getting much respect from officials - this season, despite practically living on the line in recent years.
Michael Beasley blew out his hair for Saturday's game in hopes of delivering another breakout performance.
But still. Still. STILL. The Heat still found yet another way to stumble to a disheartening loss at home, this time in a 107-97 setback to the Charlotte Bobcats at AmericanAirlines Arena. The home crowd booed after this one. And they had good reason.
The Heat (16-14) squandered a 19-point first half lead - first quarter, actually - and were blown away down the stretch by a Bobcats team that had come in with a 1-14 record on the road that included a seven-game road losing streak. This one is hard to explain. It was probably worse to watch.
The Heat, now 10-9 at home, has seen its three-game winning streak dissolve into a three-game losing skid. Yes, this up-and-down, sporadic play has been typical of the Heat this season.
D. WADE'S DOINGS: Wade's frustrations boiled over at the end of the first half when he was assessed a technical foul for pleading his case to an official before he walked off the court and toward the locker room. Wade has been upset for a while about his lack of respect from the referees this season. He normally gets to the free-throw line at will. But the calls just aren't coming these days. They haven't been all season, really. He didn't get to the line until early in the fourth quarter. It's a situation that's affecting his overall game. Wade's turnover binge continued Saturday. He had six more a game after he had a season-high seven at San Antonio. Wade has 19 turnovers in his last three games. On Saturday, he lost his shootout with Stephen Jackson, who outscored Wade 35-29. Wade was 9 of 19 from the field, 4 of 8 on threes and 7 of 7 from the foul line. But the turnovers are killing him.
TURNING POINT: Charlotte came back from a 19-point deficit in the first quarter by outscoring the Heat 32-16 in the second. Jackson was unstoppable. It didn't matter who was guarding him. Jax had 14 points in the quarter, with Heat assassin Flip Murray scoring another nine off the bench. The Bobcats shot 60 percent from the field in the period. The Heat, meanwhile, missed 12 of its 18 field goal attempts.
LOSING EDGE: The yellow police tape could be found at the free-throw line for the Heat. Through three quarters, Charlotte was 24 of 27 from the line while Miami was just 5 of 7. Yes, with Quentin Richardson, Wade and Daequan Cook jacking it up from distance, there wasn't a lot of driving into the lane. But the disparity was a bit over the top, considering Charlotte hoisted a lot of three, too.
HEAD-SCRATCHER: The only thing harder to explain that the Heat managing to lose a 19-point lead in, like, 19 seconds was that hideously marvelous 'Fro that Beasley sported during the game. He said he un-braided his hair and went with the 1970s throwback look because "it was just the way I was feeling." Beasley owes Charles Barkley an apology now. From an appearance standpoint, he was Tito Jackson out there Saturday night. You've gotta love the kid.
KEY CONTRIBUTION: Quentin Richardson did his best to try to offset Jackson's production. Richardson had 20 points on 6 of 12 shooting from three-point range. The six made threes tied his high this season and his 12 attempts were a season-high mark. He added five rebounds and a steal. But he also drew the late-game assignment of slowing Jackson, which was impossible. Still, there were times when Richardson and other Heat players got caught up too many times rotating late to Charlotte shooters. It was costly.
NEXT UP:Hawks at Heat, 7:30 Monday - AmericanAirlines Arena