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.

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).

A record-setting game for LeBron James

LeBron James scored 32 points and Dwyane Wade 30, and each shot 12-of-18 from the floor, in the Heat’s 107-97 victory over the Lakers. It marked the fifth consecutive game in which James had scored 30-or-more points while making at least 60 percent of his field-goal attempts, tying the longest such streaks in NBA history, those produced by Adrian Dantley with the Jazz in 1979 and by Moses Malone with the Rockets in 1982. (Utah won only one of the five games in Dantley’s streak, while Houston won all five of the games during Malone’s run, just as Miami has won all five games during LeBron’s streak.)

Through his first three field-goal attempts on Sunday, James had connected on 40 of his last 50 field-goal attempts, the first time in his NBA career that he has had such a stretch. (LeBron then celebrated by hitting each of his next two shots.)

James and Wade became just the fourth pair of teammates each to score 30-plus points and shoot at least 65 percent from the floor in the same game against the Lakers. Walt Bellamy and Gus Johnson did it for the Baltimore Bullets in 1964, Alex English and Dan Issel for the Nuggets in 1982, and Mike Miller and Pau Gasol- yes, that Pau Gasol – for the Grizzlies in 2007.