By Dustin Brewer
The first team to punch their ticket to Round 2 is the Miami Heat, who beat the Bobcats in Game Four in Charlotte to sweep the Bobcats out of only their second playoff appearance in team history.
A Miami Heat team looking for a three-peat of NBA Titles made quick work of a scrappy Bobcats team that certainly didn’t flop in their first prolonged experience on a national stage.
Despite still never winning a post-season game in team history, the Bobcats didn’t go down without a fight. Kemba Walker led the team with 29 points and five assists, refusing to lay down to the defending champions until the final buzzer.
Unfortunately for Charlotte, an injury early in the first quarter of Game 1 to Al Jefferson really changed the complexion of the series and any chance Charlotte had took a pretty steep hit only six minutes or so into their playoffs.
Leading the way for Miami, LeBron James nearly had another playoff triple double. He finished with 31 points, nine assists and seven rebounds as the Heat D in the second half helped seal the deal after a highly intense, back and forth first half that saw Charlotte up by two.
Charlotte, who led the NBA in the regular season with the fewest turnovers per game, had 16 turnovers in Game Four alone which helped Miami keep the tempo up and eventually put the game out of reach.
This certainly won’t be the end of the Bobcats though, who, armed with a solid roster of contributors and a great foundation in Walker and Jefferson should help institute a change in culture for the soon to be Hornets. It’ll be interesting to see what kind of moves they’re able to make in the off-season as they have some good cap-room and are one of a few teams in the East that seem to be turning a corner and getting more competitive.
For Miami, they’ll get about a full week of rest before they play the winner of the sneaky good Toronto/Brooklyn series. Their next game will be either Sunday, May 4 or Monday, May 5. Both teams have pretty favorable matchups for Miami but if the regular season is any indication, they’re going to hope they can avoid seeing Brooklyn, who swept them in the regular season and seem to have the grit needed to get them out of their groove.
Stay tuned for all the latest from the NBA playoffs.