The first playoff meeting between the two teams ended with the
Heat forward LeBron James finished with 27 points and nine rebounds,
and a rested guard Dwyane Wade finished with 23 points and five
assists to lead the Heat to a 99-88 victory over the Bobcats on
Sunday at AmericanAirlines Arena. The Heat have a 1-0 lead in its
Eastern Conference quarterfinal series against the Bobcats.
"We were flat to start, but I think our guys were just anxious to
get started, to finally start the postseason games," Heat coach Erik
Spoelstra said. "We started to get more into our groove at the end
of the first quarter. We were making a sustained effort and it was
Wade, who missed 28 games this season and had averaged 22 minutes in
his final three regular-season games, played 33 minutes Sunday and
helped the Heat overcome an early second-half deficit to win their
17th consecutive game against the Bobcats.
"Besides starting off a little slow in the first and third
[quarters], I thought we played a pretty good game," Wade said. "I
didn't have to think too much. I was just playing, making the reads.
"It is just a sign of feeling good. I want to continue to get better
and get my conditioning back to where I want it to be."
Charlotte, which is making only its second playoff appearance, has
not defeated the Heat since James and center Chris Bosh joined Wade
The Bobcats entered the playoffs having gone 20-9 since the All-Star
break playing some of the more turnover-free basketball in the
league. But Sunday was a different story when the Bobcats turned the
ball over 15 times, which led to 20 points for the Heat.
One of the Bobcats' primary concerns going forward in this series is
the health of star center Al Jefferson.
Jefferson, who averaged 21.8 points and 10.8 rebounds per game this
season and averaged 25.3 points and 15.3 rebounds per game against
the Heat, suffered an apparent plantar fasciitis injury late in the
Jefferson finished with 18 points and 10 rebounds, and hit his first
four shots helping the Bobcats to an early 21-12 lead. But after
suffering the injury, Jefferson made only five of his next 13
attempts and appeared to be hobbling throughout the rest of the
"I feel a lot better now, but when it first happened there was
definitely a lot of pain," Jefferson said. "I just have to suck it
up. I'll be fine for the remainder of the playoffs. I heard
something pop. I don't know a lot of details, but I just know I'm
going to be OK."
The injury led to a definite momentum swing in the second quarter as
the Heat used a 19-2 surge to take an 11-point lead.
"I thought defensively we were playing pretty good basketball,"
James said. "Even though [early] we had no rhythm on offense kept
grinding. We noticed [Jefferson] was laboring and we had to stay in
attack mode no matter what, and put a lot of pressure on them on
[to top of second column]
The Bobcats used a 13-0 run to take a 52-49 lead with nine minutes
left in the third. Forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and guard Kemba
Walker (20 points) sparked the surge.
"We did some really good things," Walker said. "We scored the ball
early. We got to try to be more consistent with that and keep on
executing throughout the game. We can't get rattled."
The Heat answered the Bobcats' rally behind reserve James Jones who
scored 12 points on 4 of 6 on 3-point shots in 14 minutes.
"[Jones] is one of the greatest shooters in the game today and to
have him on the floor is great for me because he gives me so much
space," James said. "I don't believe he's ever going to miss when he
takes a shot and that's a great asset to have."
James passed Larry Bird and moved into eighth place on the NBA
all-time postseason scoring list with 3,898 points.
Miami used a 13-1 surge to take the lead for good and led by as many
as 20 in the second half.
"We became a little more patient and direct with our attack,"
Spoelstra said. "We were very poised, and you have to be able to be
committed as five people and work the possessions."
NOTES: Heat F Michael Beasley was one of two players scratched for
Game 1 along with reserve C Justin Hamilton. Heat coach Erik
Spoelstra said Beasley's recovery from an ankle injury suffered in
the team's regular-season finale Wednesday against the Philadelphia
76ers had not progressed enough in recent days. ... Part of the
Bobcats' success during their run to the postseason has been
limiting turnovers. Charlotte averaged only 11.6 turnovers per game
while compiling a 20-9 record since the All-Star break. "I know in
football they talk to the quarterbacks about taking a personal
responsibility and that's really all we did," Bobcats coach Steve
Clifford said. ... Entering this series, the Heat's roster had
started a combined 727 playoff games compared to only 15 by the
Bobcats' roster. ... The Heat have won a franchise-record eight
consecutive playoff series.
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