The Miami Heat's Dwyane Wade prepares to shoot as the New Orleans Hornets' Al-Farouq Aminu (center) and Carl Landry defend in the first half of their NBA game in Miami on Monday. Alan Diaz / Associated Press
Dwyane Wade's role as captain of the Miami Heat comes with certain privileges. For example, he can occasionally shake off calls from Heat coach Erik Spoelstra.
And no one complained, either.
Wade and LeBron James each scored 22 points, Mike Miller added 14 off the bench and the Heat rode the strength of a brilliant 18-minute run midway through the game to beat the Hornets 109-95 on Monday night, Miami's eighth win in nine games.
The Hornets finished with 25 rebounds, the lowest total in the NBA this season. James had 11 rebounds - more than any two Hornets - and eight assists for Miami, which had six players in double figures and outscored New Orleans 54-23 from the midpoint of the second quarter through the end of the third.
"When a guy like D-Wade has a rhythm, you've got to keep feeding him," James said. "He brought us back."
Wade had 15 points in the second quarter, and perhaps his biggest contribution all night was when he got Spoelstra to change his mind. Looking to manufacture a jolt, Spoelstra wanted to go to a zone defense when Miami was struggling. Wade waved him off, thinking the Heat were on the verge of getting something going.
He was right.
"We started the game in a little bit of a fog and they came out and played very sharply," Spoelstra said. "They came out with a lot of energy ... then the game changed, I felt, in the second quarter. Dwyane really set the tone from that point on."
Chris Bosh and Norris Cole each scored 12 for the Heat, which trailed 45-33 midway through the second quarter before outscoring New Orleans 76-50 the rest of the way.
Jarrett Jack and Carl Landry each scored 14 for New Orleans, which lost for the 17th time in 19 games after a 2-0 start.
Emeka Okafor scored 13 points and Greivis Vasquez added 11 for the Hornets.
"It's hard to play the kind of basketball that you need to play when you're not getting what you feel is a fair call at times," Hornets coach Monty Williams said. "I thought our guys got beat up a little bit tonight going to the basket ... take nothing away from Miami. That is a championship-contending team. Their effort showed that tonight."
There were indicators suggesting Miami would get off to a less-than-ideal start.
It was Miami's third game in four nights, though all were at home. Monday's tip-off came about 24 hours after Sunday's down-to-the-wire epic against Chicago, where the Heat win wasn't secure until 0.1 seconds remained. And the second night of back-to-backs have been trouble all season for Miami, which had been 3-3 in those contests - including both of its home defeats, those coming against Atlanta and Milwaukee.
So sure enough, the Heat started slowly - and found itself in a 12-point hole against a team with the worst record in the Western Conference. New Orleans made 10 of its first 11 shots, then used a 16-6 run in the second quarter to briefly grab control. Spoelstra had an idea. Wade apparently had a better one.
"He called our zone and as the captain at that time, I kind of vetoed it," Wade said. "It ain't gonna happen much. But I felt at the time we needed to be a little more aggressive."