HEAT AT BOBCATS, 8 P.M. ET

TV:  ESPN

  • Mario Chalmers will start tonight for the Miami Heat according to coach Erik Spoelstra before the game.  “Rio’s shown a lot of improvement over the last three days,” Spoelstra said. “We’ll limit him and see how it goes out there tonight.” Chalmers has missed the previous two games with a sprained right ankle, but arrived on the early bus at Time Warner Cable Arena anxious to test it out. Norris Cole as usual will serve as the back-up for Chalmers, but should see an increase in minutes with the Heat hosting Philadelphia Saturday night.
  • As expected, the Miami Heat will be playing without some of its marquee players in Charlotte Friday night. Miami coach Erik Spoelstra confirmed that LeBron James (Sprained right hamstring), Dwayne Wade (Sprained right ankle) and Ray Allen (Sprained right ankle) would not be in uniform Friday night during his pregame media availability.
  • Chris Bosh has been the clear beneficiary of the rest given to James, Wade, Chalmers and Allen the last two games. Bosh gave the Heat the game winning bucket against San Antonio.  He has put up solid numbers, averaging 23.0 points while shooting 53.6 percent (15-of-28) from the field, 50.0 percent from three (4-of-8), and 100 percent (12-of-12) from the free throw line.
  • The Heat lead the season series 3-0 against the Bobcats including a 109-77 win on March 24 in Miami during the Heat’s 27-game winning streak. Charlotte has been swept in each of the last two series between these divisional rivals. Miami has won 11 straight in the series against the Bobcats. The average margin of victory for Miami in the first three games of the series is 16.6 points which is almost twice the Heat’s season average against opponents.
  •  The Bobcats have won five of its last six in Time Warner Cable Arena. Charlotte has picked up its scoring average during that stretch, averaging 103.2 points per game including eclipsing the 100-point plateau in four of those games. Charlotte finishes the season with a three-game road swing followed by three at home as they look to avoid the league’s worst record for the second straight season.
  • Charlotte’s Gerald Henderson is playing well recently. The Bobcats shooting guard had 24 points on 10-of-18 shooting in Wednesday’s win over Philadelphia including 10 in the fourth quarter. He added four rebounds, four assists, two steals and a blocked shot to his stat line while connecting on all four of his free throw attempts. Henderson has reached the 20-point plateau in eight of the last 14 games. Over his last five games, Henderson is averaging 25.8 points, 4.6 rebounds, 3.4 assists, 1.6 steals and 0.6 blocks.
  • The Bobcats lineup will also be impacted by injuries Friday night, DeSagana Diop (Right ankle soreness/Out); Brendan Haywood (Stress Reaction, left foot/Out); Byron Mullens (Left ankle, soreness/Out) and Ramon Sessions (MCL sprain, left knee) are all nursing various injuries and will not be available. Mullens and Sessions are both likely done for the season although no official word has been given by team officials. Jeffery Taylor (Right Plantar Fascia Strain/Active) has been sidelined of late but has been cleared for action tonight against Miami.
  • Charlotte starters: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Josh McRoberts, Bismack Biyombo, Gerald Henderson, Kemba Walker.
  • Miami starters: Rashard Lewis, Udonis Haslem, Chris Bosh, Mike Miller, Mario Chalmers.

– Derek Smith

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