Miami Heat Sweep Charlotte Bobcats to Advance to Second Round
And now the playoffs can begin for the Miami Heat.
After a regular season filled with worry and doubt, inconsistency and indifference, the Heat settled for a No.2 seed in the NBA playoffs and a first-round matchup with the up-and-coming Charlotte Bobcats. Turns out, that was the best medicine for a team of defending back-to-back champions that might not have been completely ready for the postseason.
The Heat swept the Bobcats out of the playoffs on Monday at Charlotte’s Time Warner Cable Arena with a 109-98 victory. For the rest of the week, the Heat players will rest up and wait to see if they play the Toronto Raptors or Brooklyn Nets in the second round. The series between the Raptors and Nets is tied 2-2. The Heat was 4-0 against the Raptors this season and 0-4 against the Nets.
The Bobcats were a worthy foe for the first quarter of the Heat’s first-round playoff series. But then the team’s best player, center Al Jefferson, partially tore his left foot’s plantar fascia and the injury handicapped Charlotte for the rest of the series. Jefferson soldiered on through three games, but did not play on Monday. Overmatched, the Bobcats kept things interesting for three quarters, but the Heat pulled away in final 12 minutes of the game.
LeBron James finished with 31 points, going 10 of 19 from the field, 1 of 5 from three-point range and 10 of 12 from the free-throw line. He also had seven rebounds and nine assists despite a nasty blow to his leg in the third quarter.
Dwyane Wade had 15 points and finished the series injury free. Wade missed 28 games this season to preserve his knees for the playoffs. He missed Game 4 of the Heat’s 2013 first-round series with an injury and would struggle with a knee injury through the playoffs.
Chris Bosh had 17 points, going 7 of 12 from the field. He also had eight rebounds. Norris Cole had 13 points off the bench and starting point guard Mario Chalmers finished with 10 points. James Jones, who emerged during the series as an unlikely rotation player, had three three-pointers for nine points.