Bobcats handle Big 3 as a unit, but Miami sweeps series as LeBron James dominates

The Heat became the first NBA team to advance to the conference semifinals, finishing off a four-game sweep of the Bobcats with a 109–98 victory in Charlotte. It was Miami’s ninth consecutive playoff series won, and its 12th victory in 13 playoff series in the Big Three era. Since the 2003 playoffs, when the NBA adopted the best-of-seven format for every playoff round, just one other team has won 12 series within a 13-series span (the Lakers, from 2008 to 2011).

Remarkably, in the four games against Charlotte, Miami was actually outscored, 191 to 179, during the 91 minutes, 40 seconds for which LeBron James, Dwayne Wade, and Chris Bosh were on the court together. But during the 46 minutes, 45 seconds for which LeBron was on the court but Wade and Bosh were on the bench, the Heat outscored the Bobcats, 108 to 83.

On Monday night, James led all scorers for the fourth game in a row: 27 points in Game 1, 32 in Game 2, 30 in Game 3, and 31 in Game 4. It marked the third time in his NBA career that James was the outright scoring leader—that is, no teammate or opponent even tied with him—in all four games of a best-of-seven playoff series swept by his team.  He had previously done that twice in 2009, while with the Cavaliers, in sweeps of the Pistons and the Hawks. So LeBron has done that three times; all other players in NBA history, combined, have done it exactly twice! Hakeem Olajuwon did it in the 1995 Finals against the Magic, and Dirk Nowitzki did it in a first-round series versus Memphis in 2006.

Dirk bounces The Big O from all-time NBA Top 10 in scoring

Dirk Nowitzki led all players with 21 points in the Mavericks’ victory at Utah last night. That boosted Nowitzki’s career total to 26,714 points, as he moved past Oscar Robertson into 10th place in NBA scoring—a significant moment for NBA historians.

Today marks the first time in more than 48 years that Robertson doesn’t rank among the league’s 10 highest scorers. It took the Big O just 418 NBA games to crack the top 10, which he did with a 40-point effort for the Royals at Cincinnati Gardens on December 29, 1965.

Robertson surpassed Bill Sharman’s career point total to gain the 10th spot at a time when Wilt Chamberlain was approaching the all-time NBA scoring record. Chamberlain would move past Bob Pettit seven weeks later. Wilt and Oscar ranked first and second, respectively, when the Big O retired following the 1973–74 season.

King James rules in Miami’s playoff opener

LeBron James scored a game-high 27 points and he also topped all players in rebounds (10) and assists (8) in the Heat’s 110–87 win over the Bucks in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference first-round playoff series.  It was the eighth time that James was the outright leader—that is, no other players even tied with him—in points, rebounds, and assists in the same playoff game.

That’s not only the highest such total in NBA history, but James has recorded more such games than the next three players combined: Larry Bird (3), Michael Jordan (2), and Shaquille O’Neal (2).

Anthony stars in Knicks’ back-to-back wins

Carmelo Anthony scored 40 points in the Knicks’ win at Atlanta on Wednesday, one night after he scored 50 points in a victory at Miami.  Anthony became only the second NBA player in the last 25 years to score 40 or more points in road wins played on consecutive days.  Kobe Bryant did it in March 2007.

The only other Knicks player to score 40 or more points on consecutive days—whether at home or on the road, in wins or in losses—was Bernard King, who did it twice in 1984.

 

Dynamo remain undefeated at BBVA Compass Stadium

The Houston Dynamo defeated the San Jose Earthquakes, 2-0, on Saturday, to improve their record at BBVA Compass Stadium to 14-0-6 in regular-season MLS matches   The Dynamo became only the third team in a major North American pro sports league  to go undefeated in its first 20 regular-season games at a new home venue.

The first was the Washington Capitols of the Basketball Association of America (predecessor of today’s NBA), who won their first 27 games at Uline Arena in 1946–1947.  The team was coached by Red Auerbach, in his first season in the league.  Uline Arena still stands, having been renamed Washington Coliseum, and is best known as the site of the Beatles’ first concert in the United States. The Capitols didn’t last nearly as long as their arena, folding during the 1950–1951 season.

The second team to go undefeated in its first 20 regular-season games at a home venue was the Los Angeles Sparks of the WNBA, who won their first 22 games at Staples Center (2001–2002).

Honorable mention to the Montreal Canadiens, who posted a 15–0–6 mark in their first 21 road games at the Pacific Coliseum (1970–1979), the original home of the Vancouver Canucks.