MIAMI Mike Bibby came to Miami to provide veteran leadership. The Heat soon may be asking him for much more.
LeBron James scored 33 points, Dwyane Wade had 32, and Miami never trailed during a 103-98 victory over the Denver Nuggets on Saturday night.
Chris Bosh finished with his fifth consecutive double-double, 18 points and 11 rebounds. But the Heat may have taken a significant hit when starting point guard Mario Chalmers was carried off the floor late in the first quarter with what preliminarily was diagnosed as a sprained right knee.
Injuries have just figured out a way to bite us, seems at the wrong times, James said. And it happened again (Saturday). Hopefully its not a huge thing.
Bibby, the only other true point guard on Miamis roster, scored 14, going 4-for-8 from 3-point range.
J.R. Smith had 27 points, and Danilo Gallinari finished with 23 for Denver, which went 0-2 on its back-to-back swing through Florida after losing in Orlando on Friday night. Denver was without point guard Raymond Felton, who sprained his ankle in the final minute of that loss to the Magic and is not expected to play when the Nuggets host Toronto on Monday.
I felt we were trying to search for our personality rather than knowing our personality, Nuggets coach George Karl said. When you are playing a team and their best players are having great games, you are just searching for too many answers.
Ty Lawson scored 16 points, Wilson Chandler finished with 12, and Nenê scored 10 for the Nuggets, who played much of Saturday without guard Arron Afflalo. He aggravated a left hamstring strain in the first half and did not return.
Chalmers health concerns clearly seemed the most pressing.
I think Mike fits right in, Wade said. Hes a guy whos great when he gets the ball ... a very good shooter, and most importantly, hes a veteran guy whos very smart. Hes going to be big for us in the playoffs.
Chalmers was guarding Lawson on the right wing with about 1 minute left in the first quarter when he got hurt. Lawson tried to drive, and Chalmers tumbled backward, appearing to favor his left leg. Chalmers tried to recover, then made contact with Lawsons outstretched right leg as he made a jumper.
Chalmers, who has started 27 consecutive games since Jan. 22, went down holding his right knee.