Photo Credit: Issac Baldizon
The Miami HEAT defeated the Charlotte Bobcats 101-97 Wednesday night at AmericanAirlines Arena. LeBron James led the way for the HEAT with 32 points, eight assists and six rebounds. Miami now leads the series 2-0.
Impact Performance of the Night: LeBron James was red-hot from the start, but it is what he did at the end of the game that sealed the victory for the HEAT.
After Kemba Walker made a huge 3-pointer to get the Bobcats within one with just over ten seconds to go, James nailed two free throws on the other end to get the lead back to three. In all, he shot 11-of-17 for his 32 points and hit shots from everywhere on the court. After starting the game with mid-range jumpers, James started to take it to the hoop as the game went on.
Chris Bosh also had a very effective game on Wednesday night. Bosh got the ball in his spots and as a result shot 8-of-11 from the field for 20 points, including 4-of-5 from downtown. His production on the offensive end was huge, as Wade was trying to get into a groove early on in the game. Bosh also grabbed five boards and blocked two shots.
The Deciding Run: There wasn’t one huge run in the game, but the HEAT closed the first quarter on a 16-6 run that put them up double-digits and gave them a lead they would never relinquish. The Bobcats went on a 10-0 run to cut the lead to four with 4:41 to go, but Bosh answered with a jumper from the elbow and an aggressive drive inside to get the lead back to eight with 3:36 left.
Charlotte played tough and hung in the game until the very end, but just couldn’t get over the hump.
Play of the Game: With four seconds left in regulation, Dwyane Wade stole the ball from Chris Douglas-Roberts on the left corner as the Bobcats were trying to tie the game. It was a clutch steal from Wade, who played solid defense all night.
Another great play for the HEAT came with 1:47 left in the second quarter. LeBron James stole an errant pass from Kemba Walker at the top of the key and threw down the tomahawk slam on the other end to put the HEAT up 55-41.
Lastly, with 6:09 left in the third quarter, Mario Chalmers blocked Michael Kidd-Gilchrist on a transition layup attempt after James forced Walker to give it up on the break. The HEAT played great transition defense all night.
Efficiency Rating: Offensive Efficiency: 108.9; Defensive Efficiency: 100.7
Trend to Watch: Like in Game 1, the HEAT forced the Bobcats into uncharacteristic turnovers. Miami set the tone from the start and made Charlotte fight from behind the entire game. The HEAT forced the Bobcats into six turnovers in the first quarter and scored nine points off them. On the other end, the HEAT turned over the ball three times in the quarter, but played great transition defense to make sure none of them led to points.
At the end of the first half, the HEAT forced plenty of turnovers thanks to fantastic pressure and aggressiveness in the passing lanes.
In all, the Bobcats committed 15 turnovers and the HEAT scored 22 points off them. The HEAT ended with 17 turnovers, but the Bobcats mustered just 16 points off them.
The Takeaway: Quite simply, Miami took care of business on its home floor like in Game 1 for another hard-fought playoff victory. James came to play from the start and the HEAT as a whole had great energy from the opening tip.
For the most part, Miami swarmed to the ball on defense and made things difficult for Charlotte. On the other side of the ball, the HEAT displayed great ball movement and made the extra pass to get better looks. It will likely take more efforts like this one to win the next two games on the road where it should only get tougher.
Notes: Mario Chalmers was aggressive early, and showed no ill effects from his injury. He finished with 11 points and three assists.
Chris Andersen did a great job cutting to the hoop and finishing at the rim. He finished with seven points on 3-of-4 shooting, grabbed four rebounds and swatted two shots.
Despite being hobbled with plantar fasciitis, Al Jefferson put on a valiant effort on Wednesday night. Jefferson finished the game with 18 points and 13 rebounds.
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist led the Bobcats with 22 points on 9-of-13 shooting.