|Eastern Conference - Round 1 - Best of 7 - Game 3 - MIA Leads 2-0|
|Last 5 Games||2-3||-4.2||1-4||3-2||93.0||50.8||46.3%||44.2||99.4||52.6||48.6%||46.8|
|Team Stats (All Games)||102.1||52.0||38-76||50.1%||8-22||36.5%||18-23||75.9%||44||8||22||19||9||14||4|
|vs opponents surrendering||100.6||50.3||38-83||45.4%||8-22||36.0%||18-24||75.7%||51||11||22||21||8||14||5|
|Team Stats (Road Games)||99.9||51.9||37-76||48.9%||8-23||35.9%||17-22||76.3%||43||7||23||20||9||14||5|
|Stats Against (All Games)||97.3||49.7||36-79||45.7%||8-23||36.3%||17-22||74.9%||48||11||21||20||8||16||3|
|vs opponents averaging||100.1||50||37-83||45.1%||8-21||35.8%||18-23||75.4%||51||11||22||21||8||14||5|
|Stats Against (Road Games)||97.5||49.9||36-79||45.4%||8-23||36.4%||18-24||74.6%||50||11||22||20||8||15||3|
|Last 5 Games||3-2||+1||2-3||3-2||96.4||46.4||44.8%||56.2||96.8||50.8||44.6%||48.4|
|Team Stats (All Games)||96.7||48.9||36-82||44.2%||6-18||35.2%||18-24||73.7%||52||10||22||18||6||12||5|
|vs opponents surrendering||100.8||50.5||38-82||45.5%||8-22||36.0%||18-24||75.6%||51||11||22||21||8||14||5|
|Team Stats (Home Games)||96.5||49.8||36-82||44.1%||6-17||34.2%||18-25||74.4%||53||10||22||18||5||11||6|
|Stats Against (All Games)||97.1||48.2||37-83||44.3%||8-22||37.1%||15-20||75.8%||51||9||21||21||6||13||5|
|vs opponents averaging||100.4||50.2||38-83||45.4%||8-22||35.8%||18-23||75.6%||51||11||22||21||8||14||5|
|Stats Against (Home Games)||94.3||46.4||36-83||43.1%||8-22||36.0%||15-20||75.8%||51||9||20||22||6||13||5|
|Average power rating of opponents played: MIAMI 94.6, CHARLOTTE 95.7|
|3/22/2014||@ NEW ORLEANS||95-105||L||-5||L||196.5||O||37-73||50.7%||42||15||43-84||51.2%||44||6|
|4/26/2014||@ CHARLOTTE|| || || || || || || || || || || || || || |
|4/28/2014||@ CHARLOTTE|| || || || || || || || || || || || || || |
|4/26/2014||MIAMI|| || || || || || || || || || || || || || |
|4/28/2014||MIAMI|| || || || || || || || || || || || || || |
|MIAMI: GUARDS: DWYANE WADE will continue to take a smaller role during the regular season, as the Heat try desperately to keep him fresh for the playoffs. He's attacking the rim far less than he used to . . . MARIO CHALMERS will continue to start, playing off the ball more than any other point guard . . . RAY ALLEN will once again serve as sixth man, providing long-range shooting off the bench. He didn't start a single game last year, and at age 38, he'll rarely play full-time minutes as Miami looks toward the postseason . . . NORRIS COLE continues to inch up on Chalmers' starting role, improving nicely between his first and second seasons. But as long as Chalmers is the superior shooter, Cole will play behind him. FORWARDS: LEBRON JAMES is the best player in the league by a wide margin. There's no reason he shouldn't win his third straight MVP award . . . SHANE BATTIER is back as a glue guy, flopper and corner-three shooter. He'll play part-time minutes, often coming off the bench . . . UDONIS HASLEM will likely start, but he rarely stays on the floor for even half of a game. The Heat will continue to rotate big men alongside Chris Bosh . . . MICHAEL BEASLEY provides this team with an athlete who can put the ball in the basket coming off the bench. He must prove he can stay focused and out of trouble . . . RASHARD LEWIS may step into a slightly bigger role now that Mike Miller is gone. His troublesome knees won't allow him to play a lot of minutes, but he still shoots it well enough to help for a few minutes a night . . . JAMES JONES might have to do more than enjoy a courtside seat now that Miller is gone. CENTERS: CHRIS BOSH plays center in the Heat's small-ball lineup. He'll do his thing in the high post, and he's one of Miami's rotating rim protectors . . . CHRIS ANDERSEN did enough last postseason to earn a part-time role this year . . . The Heat hope GREG ODEN and Birdman will stagger their injuries. Oden should be part of a rotation alongside Bosh . . . JOEL ANTHONY is a half-step above team mascot.|
|CHARLOTTE: GUARDS: KEMBA WALKER has become a more efficient scorer as well as a capable distributor. He'll sacrifice some shots with Al Jefferson coming in, but he should have more space with which to operate. Down the line, he could mesh nicely with pick-and-pop four Cody Zeller . . . GERALD HENDERSON transformed from a raw athlete into an effective, efficient scorer in the second half of last season. He should be the No. 2 or 3 option this year . . . RAMON SESSIONS is locked in as a sixth man. He's not a shooter, but his ability to get to the line makes him an effective second-unit scorer . . . BEN GORDON seems to be going through the motions at this point. His real value this season is his enormous expiring contract. FORWARDS: MICHAEL KIDD-GILCHRIST is going to be a quality NBA player for a long time, but he's not close to being a major factor offensively. He'll continue to defend and rebound effectively for a wing, but he's a No. 4 or 5 option on the offensive end of the court . . . JOSH MCROBERTS proved good enough to be a rotational player on a bad team last year. He has a chance to start early on while the Bobcats bring some young guys along . . . CODY ZELLER struggled against length and athleticism in college, so it seems the 'Cats think he can be more of a stretch, pick-and-pop four. If he proves to be a shooter, he's athletic enough and a good enough rebounder to be a solid NBA starter . . . JEFFERY TAYLOR is a forgettable second-unit player who can defend a couple of positions. ANTHONY TOLLIVER won't see the floor much, but he can stretch the floor with his shooting ability. CENTERS: We'll see how the Bobcats mesh with AL JEFFERSON, the NBA's worst defensive big man and a lane-clogging black hole on offense. He can score, and at (an incredible) $40 million-plus, Charlotte will run everything through him . . . BISMACK BIYOMBO will play some alongside Jefferson, as the Bobcats desperately need to cancel out Jefferson's defense. But the young big man figures to be used more sparingly this year . . . BRENDAN HAYWOOD is still kicking around.|
|~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ PA SPORTSTICKER NBA PLAYOFF PREVIEW (MIAMI-CHARLOTTE) ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ |
(Updates throughout. With AP Photos.)
*Heat-Bobcats Preview* ======================
By STEVE REED AP Sports Writer
Miami At Charlotte, Game Three, 7:00 p.m. EDT
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) -- The Charlotte Bobcats have likely earned some respect around the NBA after hanging tough with the two-time defending champion Miami Heat.
But the Bobcats want more.
"I think we know that we can challenge these guys and win," Bobcats point guard Kemba Walker said on Friday. "We're still confident as a team."
Still, it would be a tall task to beat the Heat in one game, let alone a best-of-seven series.
The Bobcats find themselves in a 2-0 hole as the series shifts to Charlotte for Game 3 on Saturday night.
That's pretty much where everyone expected them to be after two games in Miami. The inexperienced Bobcats entered the series with four starters that had never started a playoff game, compared to a Heat team that has enough championship rings to open a jewelry store.
But the past two games have been surprisingly competitive.
Charlotte led early in Game 1 before losing by 11. The Bobcats had a chance to send Game 2 into overtime Wednesday night but Dwyane Wade came up with a steal in the final seconds to seal Miami's 18th straight victory over Charlotte.
The Bobcats have played tough despite center Al Jefferson being hobbled by a strained plantar fascia in his left foot since the first quarter of Game 1.
Jefferson is expected to play Saturday night, but he isn't close to 100 percent.
"Miami is a great team," Walker said. "They are the defending champions, and we knew it wasn't going to be easy from the get go. ... We fought hard, but at the same time we feel like it shouldn't have come down to those late-game situations. There are so many mistakes we made over the course of the game that we probably could have been up."
Charlotte hasn't hosted a playoff game in four years, and Miami star LeBron James is expecting a "very challenging" game.
"Their team is very desperate because they know they can't go down 3-0," James said. "So we have to come in with the mindset that we want to win Game 3, not go up 3-0. We're not going there for a sweep. We're going there to win Game 3, and then we'll worry about what comes after that."
Coach Erik Spoelstra knows the Heat can't make a mistake by taking the Bobcats lightly.
"As you're seeing across the league in the playoffs, anything can happen right now," Spoelstra said. "Momentum from one game doesn't guarantee you anything. We need a more complete, consistent game."
Bobcats coach Steve Clifford said he isn't satisfied with moral victories.
He thinks his team can - and will - play better in Game 3.
"That is what we have to be thinking about - what it takes to win in the playoffs," Clifford said.
Clifford said the Bobcats need to protect the ball better, play more disciplined defense, and minimize the foul discrepancy from the first two games. Miami has attempted 55 free throws to Charlotte's 31.
Strangely, Jefferson hasn't attempted a free throw in the series. Clifford said that is partly because he is limited in what he can do on offense due to the painful foot injury.
The Bobcats did a better job of driving the ball to the basket in Game 2, particularly second-year small forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, who finished with 22 points.
There is the potential for Saturday night's game to get a little Heated.
Charlotte forward Josh McRoberts delivered an elbow to the throat of James as he drove in for a layup in the final minute of Game 2. McRoberts walked away unremorseful as James sat on the floor holding his throat.
Officials didn't review the play, but on Thursday the NBA fined McRoberts $20,000 for "making unnecessary and excessive contact."
Spoelstra and some Heat players were outspoken Friday about the play, saying the flagrant foul should have been called on the floor.
"If it was the `80s, then I'd come up swinging," James said. "But it's not the 80s."
AP Basketball Writer Tim Reynolds in Miami contributed to this report.
|Last Updated: 12/18/2014 5:39:37 PM EST|