Game 3 | Heat 98, Bobcats 85

Miami Heat cruises past Charlotte Bobcats, takes commanding 3-0 lead


LeBron James’ 30 points and a dominant second quarter pushed the Heat to an easy road win and a commanding 3-0 series lead.

Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade (3) dishes off the ball in front of Charlotte Bobcats center Cody Zeller (40) in the first half. The Charlotte Bobcats played the Miami Heat on Saturday, April 26, 2014.
Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade (3) dishes off the ball in front of Charlotte Bobcats center Cody Zeller (40) in the first half. The Charlotte Bobcats played the Miami Heat on Saturday, April 26, 2014.
Jeff Siner /
WEB VOTE Which NBA first-round series has been the most compelling so far?

It was the quickest of glances, but it was powerful all the same.

With Game 3 of the Heat’s first-round playoff series quickly getting out of hand, LeBron James picked the pocket of Charlotte Bobcats forward Josh McRoberts and sprinted down the court for a breakaway dunk. Just before liftoff, James shot a look at the end of the Bobcats’ bench. That’s where Michael Jordan was sitting.

James’ Tomahawk dunk sent the arena’s Heat fans to their feet, and there were plenty of Heat fans at Charlotte’s Time Warner Cable Arena on Saturday night for Miami’s 98-85 victory. The arena announced a record crowd for its first playoff game since 2010: 19,633. The Heat now leads the Bobcats 3-0 in this best-of-7 series, and the two-time defending champions can sweep the series on Monday.

Unless Jordan comes off that bench 20 years younger, his seventh-seeded Bobcats don’t seem to have much of a chance. After the game, James shrugged off his glance in Jordan’s direction.

“Don’t start that,” James said. “I absolutely did not look in his direction.”

Whether he peeked at Jordan or not, James is only 48 minutes away from sweeping Jordan’s team. The Heat doesn’t want a fifth game back in Miami.

“We don’t want the series to go longer than it needs to,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said.

The NBA’s playoffs have featured one compelling and competitive series after another to begin the postseason … with one exception, of course. The Heat, which now has not lost a first-round game since Game 4 against the Knicks in 2012, has used its series with the Bobcats to tune up and prepare itself for a long run to June. The Heat appeared to be in top form on Saturday.

Led by James and Dwyane Wade, the Heat led by 12 at halftime and then easily pulled away at the beginning of the third quarter. James finished with 30 points, going 10 of 18 from the field and 9 of 10 from the free-throw line. He also had nine rebounds and six assists.

Wade, worlds away from where he was physically at this time last year, had 17 points to go along with six assists and three rebounds. Wade injured his knee last year in Game 3 of the Heat’s first-round series against the Bucks and went 1 of 12 from the field for four points. The injury affected him throughout the playoffs and required significant therapy in the offseason.

After missing 28 games in the regular season, Wade has started the postseason healthy and rested. He made the game-clinching steal in the final two seconds of the Game 2 victory and had two impressive dunks in the third quarter of Game 3 during the Heat’s biggest run of the game.

Chris Bosh finished with eight points, going 2 of 2 from three-point range. Coming into Game 3, Bosh was 6 of 9 from three-point range in the series. Chris Andersen had 12 points off the bench. Ray Allen and Norris Cole had eight points each off the bench. Allen was 2 of 4 from three-point range, Cole was 2 of 2 from long distance and the Heat shot 9 of 18 on three-pointers.

Center Al Jefferson led the Bobcats with 20 points, going 8 of 13 from the field. The Bobcats shot 41.5 percent as a team. Point guard Kemba Walker was 4 of 7 from the field for 13 points in 27 minutes. Chris Douglas-Roberts had 17 points off the bench for Charlotte.

The Heat outscored the Bobcats 63-38 between the second and third quarters, and Spoelstra credited Bosh’s helping defense with limiting the Bobcats to seven points in the first eight minutes of the third period.

The Heat committed just seven turnovers while dishing out 26 assists on 36 field goals. Miami led 58-46 at halftime, with the team shooting 6 of 8 from three-point range.

“We’re the best offensive team and we shoot a high percentage every game, and we understand that we give ourselves a great chance when we don’t turn it over, and on the road you definitely can’t turn it over because that triggers transition,” Cole said.

A putback dunk by Wade gave the Heat a 64-47 lead with 8:28 left in the third quarter. Following a timeout by the Bobcats, James scored four points in a row, including his bench-glancing breakaway dunk, and the rout was on.

The Heat outscored the Bobcats 21-7 to begin the third quarter, with another dunk by Wade, this time from the baseline, giving Miami a 76-53 lead. On the Heat’s next possession, James Jones made his only three-pointer of the game to give the Heat a 26-point lead. A three-pointer by Allen gave the Heat an 89-65 lead to begin the fourth quarter.

Read more Miami Heat stories from the Miami Herald

FILE - In this Jan. 17, 2014, file photo, then-Cleveland Cavaliers forward Luol Deng looks on against the Denver Nuggets in the fourth quarter of the Cavaliers' 117-109 victory in an NBA basketball game in Denver. Atlanta Hawks general manager Danny Ferry has been disciplined by CEO Steve Koonin for making racially charged comments about Luol Deng when the team pursued the free agent this year. Ferry apologized Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2014, for “repeating comments that were gathered from numerous sources” about Deng.

    Miami Heat

    More comments besmirching new Miami Heat forward Luol Deng

    Days after it was revealed that Atlanta Hawks general manager Danny Ferry made racially charged comments about new Heat forward Luol Deng before Deng became a free agent this summer, additional comments made by Ferry about Deng came to light Thursday.

FILE - In this Dec. 22, 2011, file photo, Atlanta Hawks co-owners Michael Gearon Jr., left, and Bruce Levenson talk prior to the first half of an NBA preseason basketball game at Philips Arena in Atlanta. Hawks general manager Danny Ferry has been disciplined by CEO Steve Koonin for making racially charged comments about Luol Deng when the team pursued the free agent this year. The team did not provide any details of the discipline.

    Hawks discipline GM Ferry for racist comments

    The Atlanta Hawks are sticking with general manager Danny Ferry even though the team's new majority owner wants him fired for racially charged comments about Luol Deng.

Shaquille O'Neal stopped by Doral City Hall Wednesday to say hello to the city council before sitting down with the police department. O’neal applied to be a reserve officer and is undergoing a background check.


    Shaq wants to attack crime in Doral

    Former Miami Heat star Shaquille O’Neal applied to be a reserve police officer for the city of Doral on Wednesday.

Get your Miami Heat Fan Gear!

Join the

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category