The Miami Heat were trailing the Charlotte Bobcats by two at halftime, but again it was a strong third quarter push that helped the Heat get the victory. Miami outscored Charlotte 32-17 in the period to help give them a cushion to hold on to the victory in the fourth quarter. The Heat won the game 109-98 and completed the sweep of the Charlotte Bobcats and advanced to the second round.
The Bobcats were playing without their star center Al Jefferson, who's torn plantar fascia was just too much to play on again as he sat out. Miami had their best player, LeBron James, and he played a great game. James had 31 points, 9 assists and 7 rebounds to lead Miami. The Heat also got good contributions from Chris Bosh who had 17 points and Dwyane Wade who had 15 points.
Even brighter spots for Miami was 13 points off the bench from Norris Cole. He had struggled for much of the end of the regular season, but has come on strong in this series. Cole hit some outside shots and got to the rim. Also off the bench, James Jones connected from deep three times for 9 points.
Charlotte was led by Kemba Walker who started the game off hot, scoring 10 of the Bobcats first 12 points. He finished with 29 points and 5 assists but had 5 turnovers. Miami doubled him more often after the first quarter. The Cats also got contributions from Gary Neal, 16 points, and Chris Douglas-Roberts, 14 points off the bench.
The Bobcats never gave up, and they made the Heat work for this one. Wade struggled with foul trouble and forced LeBron to play the entire second half, totaling 43 minutes. Most notable adjustment for the Heat tonight was much more action of LeBron in the post. Most of the time he faded away, and was successful, but LeBron did a lot of his work inside the arc tonight.
It was an overall good effort for the Heat, especially in the second half where they turned it up a bit. LeBron had a few stretches where he just took over, scored at will and anticipated the defensive lanes perfectly. LeBron had 3 steals. The Bobcats put out a great effort, but without Jefferson, the Heat were just too much in this one.
The Heat became the first team to advance to the second round, the only team to sweep, only team to protect home court, and they earned themselves a mini-vacation. The Heat can't start until the Raptors-Nets series is settled and they are 2-2 with Game 6 on Friday.