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Heat hold off Bobcats, 101-97, take 2-0 series lead

Heat Battle Past Bobcats To Take 2-0 Lead

BY TIM REYNOLDS
AP BASKETBALL WRITER

MIAMI (AP) -- LeBron James drove to the rim as time was winding down, got clobbered by Josh McRoberts and sat on the hardwood gathering himself for a few seconds afterward.

It was fitting. Miami took Charlotte's best shot, and survived.

James scored 32 points and added eight assists, Chris Bosh scored 20 points and the Heat wasted two big leads before hanging on to beat the Bobcats 101-97 on Wednesday night to take a 2-0 lead in their Eastern Conference first-round series.

"We can play better basketball," James said. "We haven't played our best basketball."

Dwyane Wade scored 15 points, and had a steal in the final seconds to seal the win for Miami. He stripped the ball from Chris Douglas-Roberts with the Heat protecting a three-point lead with about 3 seconds left, and the Bobcats never got another shot off.

"A very instinctual, high-risk play," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. "The ball's there and you know you have an opportunity to get it when most people can't get that, and that saved the game."

Game 3 is Saturday in Charlotte. The Heat were the NBA's only higher-seed to open the playoffs with two home wins.

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist scored 22 points for Charlotte, which got 18 points and 13 rebounds from Al Jefferson, who played through a left plantar fascia strain and shot 9 for 23.

Jefferson said he felt the tear worsen early on in the game, said it was "a lot of pain" but again insisted he would keep playing.

"He's not anywhere close to 100 percent," Bobcats coach Steve Clifford said. "But we can play through him. ... You've got to respect the fact he's out there battling. He has no mobility, basically. Limited mobility and yet he had 18 and 13, and he fought hard."

So was McRoberts - maybe too hard for Miami's liking.

Miami's lead was 97-94 with 50 seconds left when James drove and was met at the rim by McRoberts, whose right elbow struck the four-time NBA MVP around his chin. James immediately began grabbing at his throat and needed much longer than he usually does to get up after a hard foul, which was not called flagrant.

"I don't need to see it again," James said. "Most important thing is we won the game."

Said McRoberts, who insisted it wasn't intentional: "It looked a lot worse than what it was."

James hit the second of his two free throws, making it a two-possession game - and that was critical. Kemba Walker made a 3-pointer with 11.9 seconds left to get Charlotte within one, but the Bobcats didn't score again.

"I think we're still really confident," Walker said. "We just have to learn from our mistakes. ... I think we have a chance, man."

Walker finished with 16 and Gerald Henderson scored 15 for the Bobcats. Mario Chalmers scored 11 for Miami.

So while the Heat were saying that all they have done was hold serve at home, it's hard to find a real silver lining for Charlotte. Not only have the Bobcats now lost 18 consecutive games against Miami, but the Heat have never dropped any of the previous 11 postseason series in which they've grabbed a 2-0 series lead.

James, between his time in Cleveland and Miami, is 11-0 in such situations. Wade has been part of nine previous 2-0 leads with the Heat, and six of those series ended in no more than five games.

"They're going to keep coming at us," Wade said. "And that's good."

Miami's lead was 91-77 midway through the fourth, and after blowing a big first-half lead, it appeared as though the Heat finally had some breathing room. A few minutes later, it looked a whole lot different.

Walker, Kidd-Gilchrist and Douglas-Roberts combined on a 10-0 run, getting the Bobcats within 91-87. But Bosh scored on consecutive possessions, pushing the Heat lead to eight with 3:36 remaining.

"We got out of our here with the win, but we're going to have to tighten up a little bit," Bosh said. "We had a little bit of slippage today."

Miami led 57-47 at the half, and the Bobcats - who missed 17 of their first 22 shots - were fortunate, after facing a 16-point deficit at one point in the early going.

And while Charlotte kept coming back, it never led in the final 41 minutes.

NOTES: Jefferson has not shot a free throw in the series. ... James has signed with William Morris, which will represent him in entertainment-related projects. ... Game 3 will be Charlotte's first playoff home game since April 26, 2010, against Orlando. No current Bobcats appeared in that game - but Heat F Rashard Lewis did, for Orlando.

© 2014 THE ASSOCIATED PRESS. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. THIS MATERIAL MAY NOT BE PUBLISHED, BROADCAST, REWRITTEN OR REDISTRIBUTED. Learn more about ourPRIVACY POLICY and TERMS OF USE.

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Hoagie58 April 24 2014 at 8:40 AM

Except...it wasn't Charlotte's "best shot." With Al Jefferson at only 50%, this was far from Charlotte's "best." Truth be told, if Jefferson were at 100%, Charlotte would have won that game.

On another note- the blatant favoritism for LeBron, held by most NBA refs, it's clearly evident when you assess the fouls called on Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. Dude couldn't sneeze within 30 feet of LeBron, without creating a foul. To their credit, the refs did seem to call a cleaner game, after the first quarter.

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1 reply
oneguss Hoagie58 April 24 2014 at 1:38 PM

Al was 100% for 4 games this season, and they lost ALL 4!!! In fact 1 game LBJ put up 60 plus points!!!

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Ella April 24 2014 at 10:43 AM

I'm still smh at the fact that Lebron James (best NBA player in the world) was hit hard across his neck/throat area (which is a passageway for breathing) by Josh McRobert, and no flagrant 2 foul was called, as a matter of fact the refs didn't even review the play. McRobert's used his forearm to intentionally "clobber" Lebron across the neck/throat area and there was no indication that he was making a play on the ball. I hope Adam Silver and the NBA look at this play and take matters into their own hands and issue out penalties for Josh McRobert and the Referees. That play was too unfairly favored toward McRoberts. THAT'S MY TAKE.

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1 reply
oneguss Ella April 24 2014 at 1:36 PM

I agree! It is so funny to read all the haters moan about how LBJ gets all the calls, yet he goes to the line less than ANY superstar player, present or pass!

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rlaura668 April 24 2014 at 9:10 AM

LeBron James is the MVP.

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mazd273 April 24 2014 at 11:31 AM

The Refs blew the call. The replay shows McRoberts used a forearm shiver to the throat of LeBron James. It was a dirty play. Of course McRoberts would say it was unintentional. It was under 2 minutes so the Refs could have reviewed it. They chose not to review. It will most likely be reviewed by the league office and a fine for McRoberts. Kudos to Lebron for keeping his cool.

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MHurtado17 April 24 2014 at 11:25 AM

Lebron is a saint. Most guys would have cold cocked u for that one. Mc Donald oh I mean McRoberts. Whoever, u are? Oh, I mean a nobody. :P

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Robby April 24 2014 at 11:02 AM

The Miami Heat has a great team, and yes Pat Riley put together a winning team, that's what general managers do. The Boston Celtics did it one year, the Los Angeles Lakers did it one year. But that's not what the article is about it's about a flagrant foul that was not call. Lebron James is one of the better basketball players on the planet. Just a thought

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hugh4u2 April 24 2014 at 5:19 AM

WHO cares miami is a bunch of thugs liars and cheaters, hope some team knocks them OFF and lebronie can go home and cry on his little galfriend wade.

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3 replies
ae12wrangell April 24 2014 at 11:33 AM

Come on Oklahoma! Bing it on and WIN!!!!

Flag Reply +1 rate up
1 reply
ae12wrangell ae12wrangell April 24 2014 at 11:34 AM

*Toronto. Sorry.

Flag Reply +1 rate up
belldn3 April 24 2014 at 12:32 AM

Go Heat.

Flag Reply +2 rate up
rooster April 24 2014 at 9:56 AM

The Heat ! ...The best team money can buy !

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