The Heat defeated the Bobcats 99-88 to take a 1-0 lead in the series. LeBron James led the Heat with 27 points and he was 4-of-8 shooting from three point range. But the best thing to happen to the Heat in Game 1 was having Dwyane Wade back healthy. Wade scored 23 points in 34 minutes and ignited the Heat’s offense in the second half. Like I’ve always said, with a healthy Wade nobody can beat the Heat in a seven game series. Wade responded well to his first challenge in the postseason.
An unlikely contributor off the bench for the Heat was James Jones. He had 12 points, going 4 of 6 from the field and 2 of 3 from three-point range. Sunday’s playoff game against the Bobcats was Jones first playoff appearance since Game 5 of the 2013 Finals in San Antonio. Playing Jones can add another valuable piece to the already deep Miami Heat. With Ray Allen and Shane Battier struggling with their shots, Jones can provide the three-point shooting the Heat will need. If Spoelstra decides to leave Jones on the bench for Game 2 or even the rest of the series, he will be making a mistake. The Bobcats will have to respect Jones as a shooter, which will open up driving lanes for James and Wade. I guess I’ll have to wait until Wednesday to see if Spoelstra agrees with me or not.
However the Bobcats led by as many as nine points in the third quarter, but the young team couldn’t hold off the Heat in crunch time. Kemba Walker led the Bobcats with 20 points and Al Jefferson finished with 18 points despite injuring his foot in the first quarter. Jefferson’s injury will have a huge impact on the Bobcats for the rest of the series. If Jefferson isn’t at 100 percent a lot more pressure will be put on Walker. Jefferson dominated the Heat inside from the beginning but after his injury, I could tell he wasn’t the same.
Game 2 is on Wednesday and the Heat look ready to have another great game. The Bobcats are in serious trouble in this series with Jefferson’s injury. The only way the Bobcats have a chance at winning this series is if Jefferson dominates inside. However with Wade healthy again I don’t think Jefferson’s dominance will win the Bobcats this series. The only thing that concerns me about the Heat in this series are their slow starts. They need to clean that up, but the Heat will have no trouble winning Game 2.