Despite the absence of Al Jefferson, the Bobcats gave the Heat all they could handle in the first half. Charlotte, led by Kemba Walker‘s 12 first half points, held a 54-52 lead at halftime. Charlotte played with great energy and passion in the first half, beating the Heat to loose balls and outrunning them in transition.
Without Jefferson occupying the post, the Bobcats were able to spread the floor, opening driving lanes for Walker and Chris Douglas-Roberts, who added nine first-half points.
After exerting so much effort in the first half, Charlotte appeared to run out of gas in the third quarter. The Heat were able to take advantage, outscoring the Bobcats 32-17 in the period. Following a rather pedestrian first half, LeBron James came alive for Miami after halftime. He scored nine points and dished out six assists in the third quarter alone.
Several of James’ assists led to open 3-point opportunities which helped the Heat pull away. After hitting just two 3-pointers in the first half, Miami poured in five third-quarter threes, including a buzzer-beater by Norris Cole at the end of the period.
The Heat’s dominant third quarter demonstrated how unstoppable they can be when they hit outside shots and play with intensity on defense. Charlotte looked completely overwhelmed when Miami flipped the switch, particularly on the offensive end. The Bobcats turned the ball over six times in the third quarter, leading to several fast break opportunities for the Heat.
Now, the Heat await a second-round matchup with either the Toronto Raptors or the Brooklyn Nets. Whichever team Miami plays, the Heat will be well rested. They will likely begin the second round on Sunday, giving them almost a week to rest. This time off will be great for all of Miami’s players, but particularly Dwyane Wade, who has battled injuries throughout the season.