When Dwyane Wade was told he was going to take the winning shot against the Bobcats in Charlotte, N.C., he nearly deferred to the hotter LeBron James.
Then Wade thought better of it.
“When [coach Erik Spoelstra] called it, I was shocked because this guy had it going on,’’ Wade said, pointing to James. “I wasn’t in the flow. I was about to say, ‘Let LeBron run it.’ Then I said, ‘You know what, I’ll do it.’ ’’
And he did.
With James in the corner, Wade brought the ball up, drove to the left side, and banked a 10-footer over Gerald Henderson with 2.9 seconds remaining last night to lift the Heat (3-0) to a 96-95 victory over the pesky Bobcats.
After Wade’s shot gently fell through the net, he turned to Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton seated courtside and imitated Newton’s popular Superman touchdown celebration by pretending to rip open his shirt.
“It’s a great homage to him,’’ Wade said. “He was laughing. He was cracking up. But it was great respect to him. I wasn’t trying to show nobody up. It’s about how much respect we have for the athletes.’’
The Bobcats had a chance to steal one at the buzzer, but D.J. Augustin’s 3-point attempt off a side inbounds play didn’t fall and D.J. White’s follow at the buzzer rolled off the rim as time expired.
Wade, who missed almost the entire third quarter with a bruised foot, only had 10 points on 5-of-13 shooting.
James led all scorers with 35 points, while Chris Bosh added 25. They combined for 35 second-half points to overcome a 60-45 halftime deficit.
Henderson led the Bobcats with 21 points, including a 3-pointer with 12 seconds remaining to give the Bobcats the lead at 95-94. Augustin finished with 20 points, while center Boris Diaw turned in another terrific game with 16 points, 16 rebounds, and 8 assists.
James said he wasn’t upset Wade got the last shot.
“I guess that’s why they give him the big bucks,’’ laughed James.
“Hey, they deserved to take my money today,’’ Wade said. “But I earned my money toward the end.’’
Said James: “D-Wade said he finally earned it. He didn’t play well tonight but, hey, nobody cares about what else you do after you hit a game-winner like that. That was a big shot by him.’’
But it was James who brought the Heat back.
“I feel good and this is the best I’ve felt in a while,’’ James said. “I’m back to having fun playing the game and doing what I do best and that’s attacking and getting to the free throw line.’’
Pacers 90, Raptors 85 - Danny Granger scored 9 of his 21 points in the fourth quarter and Indiana held off a furious comeback attempt by Toronto in the Raptors’ home opener.
Down by as many as 14 points, Toronto rallied to get within 83-81 with 1:35 left. But Granger gave the Pacers some breathing room with a 3-pointer from the wing, which pushed the lead to 86-81 with 1:14 left.
Spurs 115, Clippers 90 - Manu Ginobili scored 24 points and DeJuan Blair added 20 to lead host San Antonio over Los Angeles.
Blake Griffin scored 28 points for the Clippers, while Chris Paul (10 points) was held to 3-of-10 shooting.
Thunder 98, Grizzlies 95 - Kevin Durant scored 32 points and James Harden added 20 to keep visiting Oklahoma City unbeaten.
Durant, who started the game 1 of 7, made nine of his next 10 before making the clinching free throws with a second left.
Cavaliers 105, Pistons 89 - Rookie Kyrie Irving had 14 points and seven assists to help Cleveland top Detroit, ruining the Pistons’ first home opener with new owner Tom Gores.
Hawks 101, Wizards 83 - Joe Johnson led a balanced attack with 18 points and host Atlanta beat Washington.
Nuggets 117, Jazz 100 - Nene scored 25 points and reserve Al Harrington had 18 points and seven rebounds as host Denver rolled over Utah.
76ers 103, Suns 83 - Andre Igoudala scored 15 points to lead six players in double figures and added six assists in Philadelphia’s rout of host Phoenix.
Warriors 92, Knicks 78 - Monta Ellis scored 22 points to lead all scorers as host Golden State outscored New York by 14 points in the fourth quarter to break open a tie game.