MIAMI: LeBron James scored 32 points and Chris Bosh tallied 20 points as the host Miami Heat beat the Charlotte Bobcats 101-97 Wednesday to take a 2-0 lead in their first round playoff series on Wednesday (Thursday in Manila).
The Bobcats cut Miami’s lead to 10 points at halftime after shooting 50 percent from the field in the second quarter. Charlotte got as close as four points three times in the third. But the Heat led by seven heading into the fourth and then held on for the victory.
Miami now takes a comfortable series lead into game three on Saturday in Charlotte.
Bosh’s three-pointer put the brakes on a 10-0 Bobcats surge in the fourth quarter and Dwyane Wade came up with a crucial steal in the final seconds with the Heat clinging to a three-point lead, hitting a foul shot at the other end to help clinch the win.
“They hung around,” said Miami coach Erik Spoelstra. “They didn’t make it easy to break it open.”
Wade finished with 15 points as he, Bosh and James combined to score 19 of Miami’s 22 points in the fourth quarter.
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist finished with 22 points and 10 rebounds and Al Jefferson scored 18 with 13 rebounds for Charlotte, who are the lone current NBA franchise without a playoff victory.
Jefferson played Wednesday despite suffering a strain in his left foot in game one.
Jefferson left the game late in the first quarter but checked back in early in the second. He was nine-of-23 from the floor.
Miami also had to hold on for the win in game one on Sunday (Monday in Manila) when they pulled away for a 99-88 win. The Heat have beaten the Bobcats 18 consecutive times including the wins in this series.