The Miami Heat are now one win away from advancing to the second round after a 98-85 win over the Charlotte Bobcats on Saturday.
It was the widest margin of victory in the series for the Heat after two close games at home in Miami. The Bobcats led early in this one as well but towards the end of the first half, the Heat began to build a lead. They continued that trend in the opening minutes of the second half on their way to the relatively easy win. Playing in front of Michael Jordan who was next to the Charlotte bench, LeBron James had another big game. The reigning MVP had 30 points, six assists and ten rebounds. Dwyane Wade had a good night himself putting together 17 points, and six assists.
After one quarter of play, the Bobcats held a four point lead after being up by as much as seven during the quarter. Al Jefferson played a big role in the first quarter despite his injury problems with 15 points including the last six makes of the quarter for Charlotte. Chris Andersen had a good first quarter himself for Miami picking up six points including the back-end of an Alley Oop dunk towards the close of the quarter. The assist on that dunk came from James.
The Heat had their biggest lead at halftime thus far in the series when they headed to the locker room up 12. It was also the first time that Kemba Walker did not sink a late three near the buzzer of the second quarter. The half closed out with James taking and making three free throws after Gerald Henderson fouled him on a three-point attempt with 00.2 left on the clock. James also made two free throws with 3.3 seconds left on the clock to give him five of his 16 points in a three second span.
The Heat started the second half by extending the lead quick and never looked back. With 3:59 to go in the third quarter, James Jones sank a three-pointer to make it a 26 point lead for Miami which was their biggest of the game at that point. That followed a Wade dunk from only 30 seconds earlier which was part of a six point quarter for the star. The Bobcats trimmed the lead a bit as the third quarter closed out with the Heat taking a 20 point lead into the fourth.
In the final quarter of the game, the two teams began things by exchanging baskets. Over three minutes into the quarter, Miami’s lead was still at 20. With less than four minutes to go, the Bobcats trimmed the lead down to 14 but that would be as close as they would get. The Heat began to rebuild the lead the advantage at that point to secure the win.
The series will continue on Monday in Charlotte as the Heat will try to complete a four game sweep of the Bobcats.