for this game

Wallace leads Bobcats to rout of Heat

Nov 14, 2007 - 5:10 AM By Derek Smith PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

CHARLOTTE, North Carolina (Ticker) -- Miami Heat coach Pat Riley hasn't played in the NBA in over 20 years. But even at his advancing age, he thinks he would dominate his struggling squad.

Gerald Wallace scored 19 points and sparked a big run to open the third quarter as the Charlotte Bobcats cruised to an easy 91-76 victory over the Heat on Tuesday night.

Jason Richardson scored 18 points and Emeka Okafor added 13 and 10 rebounds for the Bobcats, who pounded the Heat, 31-12, in the third quarter to spark their blowout victory.

However, it was Riley's postgame comments which caused the biggest fire.

"I should play," said Riley, who had a nine-year NBA career with three teams from 1967-76. "I guarantee you, I should suit up. I play better than some of them right now. I guarantee you. I swear to God. With an old hip, 62 years old, can't (bleeping) see. I play better than some of my guys did tonight. It's not humorous, but we were pretty bad across the board."

The Heat's starting five scored just 41 points and made just 16 field goals which raised the ire of their coach.

"I just want somebody to step up," Riley said. "You grandfather playing time to all your starters or guys that have been in the rotation and you're losing games. Eventually, you have to shave the beard and either get the look (of the team) younger or get somebody else in there. It can't continue like this."

Wallace, Richardson and Okafor each scored five points in the decisive run in which Charlotte connected on 7-of-11 shots while the Heat made just 1-of-8. The Bobcats also converted two of the Heat's turnovers into five points.

Richardson's third 3-pointer of the game gave Charlotte an 11-point cushion and forced Riley to call timeout just two minutes into the second half.

Charlotte continued to control the game throughout the third period. Okafor's three-point play at 7:17 sent Heat center Shaquille O'Neal to the bench with his fourth foul while extending the Bobcats' lead to 55-38.

"Defensively, we were able to do some of the things we have been preaching since training camp," Charlotte coach Sam Vincent said. "When we get the ball out and run, we've got some guys that can really get up and down the court.

"Gerald and Jason are as good as anybody in the league at getting to the basket and getting good shots."

Wallace's 3-pointer on the next possession put Charlotte ahead by 20 points and capped the 18-3 outburst.

The Bobcats' advantage ballooned to 25 points on a shot from the arc by Matt Carroll. The shot was set up when O'Neal had his shot blocked from behind by Wallace - electrifying the crowd.

"The last three games we've felt our team is getting better," Wallace said. "Our offense is looking smoother, the ball is moving around the perimeter a lot easier, our defense is more aggressive, we're helping on defense, we're taking teams out of what they want to do.

"It's not just this game, it's been building from three games ago and it's continuing to build."

Charlotte cruised into the fourth quarter with a 71-47 lead.

Richardson gave the Bobcats an 84-54 lead - its largest of the game - on another 3-pointer midway through the final period. Charlotte also took advantage of cold shooting by the Heat.

"Hats off to our defense tonight," Wallace said. "Guys are playing together defensively. We've got to be able to play defense. Our defense was great tonight. It was aggressive."

Miami struggled from the floor, shooting just 38.5 percent (30-of-78). And O'Neal was the only Heat regular that had a good shooting night, connecting on 7-of-14 from the field en route to 17 points.

"We just weren't consistent tonight," O'Neal said. "We had a lot of mental lapses defensively, and the Bobcats did a good job capitalizing off of our mistakes."

Charlotte continued to build its lead as the second quarter started thanks to rookie Jermareo Davidson, who netted the first six points for the Bobcats - pushing their lead to 23-14.

Richardson made another big shot in the second, giving the Bobcats their first double-digit advantage, 34-23, with 3:25 to play in the half.

Udonis Haslem sparked an 8-1 Heat run to close out the first half with the Bobcats leading, 40-35.

Haslem collected 10 points and seven rebounds for Miami, which continued to play without All-Star Dwayne Wade (offseason knee and shoulder surgeries).

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