The Miami Heat swept the Charlotte Bobcats out of the playoffs Monday night, making them the only team to do so this postseason. Let’s take a look at what we learned.
Game 1: Heat 99, Bobcats 88 — Enter James Jones
This game was highlighted by the sharp shooting of James Jones. Jones scored 12 points, shooting 4-6 from the floor including 2-3 from the arc. Dwyane Wade was bouncy on offense and LeBron James was controlling. The Heat’s offense really didn’t have too many issues down the stretch of this one. However, transitioning from a season of playing mostly conservative defense, the Heat’s help defense and switched were slow after trapping the ball handler.
What we learned: After playing less aggressive defense this season, the Heat looked sloppy when reverting back to its trapping-style defense for the playoffs. It turns out, it takes a minute to “flip the switch.”
Game 2: Heat 101, Bobcats 97 — McRoberts Takes His Best Shot
LeBron got hit in the throat on his way to 32 points. Chris Bosh scored 20 but the supporting cast that stepped up in Game 1 wasn’t doing as much in Game 2. The Bobcats were able to hang around, mostly behind Michael Kidd-Gilchrist’s 22 points, but Dwyane Wade’s steal at the end of the game sealed it.
What we learned: LeBron’s armor doesn’t cover his neck.
Game 3: Heat 98, Bobcats 85 — The Stare Down
LeBron stole the ball at mid-court and made sure to angle himself on the dunk to make sure he was facing Michael Jordan, who was seated near the Bobcats bench. He says it wasn’t a stare down, but it so was. Miami took care of business and kicked it up a notch on defense, with crispier switches and more caffeinated help defense.
What we learned: That Donald Sterling is a jerk. Oh, the game? We learned that Miami’s defense is back, and that it will take more than a procession of high pick-and-rolls to beat it.
Game 4: Heat 109, Bobcats 98 — The Thigh Game
James went down fast, holding his upper leg in pain. Heat fans feared the worst, but James eventually got up. The “thigh game” was born. James scored 19 of his 31 points in the game after being kneed in the thigh by Bismack Biyombo. The Heat outscored the Bobcats 57-44 after trailing by two at halftime. Miami became the only team in the first round to sweep its opponent, and LeBron has plenty of time to let the bruise on his knee heal.
What we learned: That Miami means business, and that they look smarter than everyone after people questioned their urgency in the regular season.