Two down, 14 to go. It was not a Basquiat but the Miami Heat are the only team to protect their home court at this point in the NBA playoffs. The Heat held off the Charlotte Bobcats 101-97 to a take 2-0 series lead in round one.
Al Jefferson was doubtful before Game 2. He said at the end of Game 1 he would not miss a game before leaving American Airlines Arena in a walking boot too small for his size 18 left foot. Jefferson came out hobbling and then felt his plantar fascia tear more, yet he still played 40 minutes and put up 18 points and 13 rebounds. Jefferson felt the tear worsen early in the game. “I was running down court and felt it rip all the way through, I am just going to have to play through it,” Jefferson said. The Heat are still criticized that they play down to their opponent. They faced a beat-up Bobcats team and escaped with a victory that was in doubt till the last second. “I missed too many shots, when you lose a game that close you think about every missed shot that you should have made, I am going to have that on my mind the next few days,” Jefferson stated. Jefferson has not attempted a free throw in the series.
LeBron James scored 32 points and added eight assists; Chris Bosh scored 20 points finishing 4-of-5 from three-point land. Dwyane Wade had a quiet 15 points, but came up with an important steal in the final seconds to seal the win for Miami. He stripped the ball from Chris Douglas-Roberts with the Heat protecting a three-point lead with about three seconds left, and the Bobcats never got another shot off. “That has always been a staple of us to protect home, we protect home we have a great chance to win a championship. It’s uplifting that we have not played well but should get better,” James stated. James has signed with the agency William Morris Endeavor, which will represent him in entertainment-related projects.
The Heat announced Wednesday night that they have agreed to extend their partnership with Miami-Dade County another 10 years through 2040. The deal is still subject to approval by the county’s commissioners, with a vote possible on May 6, and the announcement hardly assures that the extension is done. Heat managing partner Micky Arison cited an economic impact study conducted last spring that found the Heat and the arena generate $1.4 billion annually for the South Florida economy. The tentative deal also calls for the Heat to make an annual payment to the county, earmarked for what Arison called “perpetually underfunded” parks and recreation activities for residents. Whatever that means.
Game 3 will be Charlotte’s first playoff home game since April 26, 2010, against Orlando. No current Bobcats appeared in that game, but Heat forward Rashard Lewis did, for Orlando.