James, Heat take 3-0 lead on Bobcats
Charlotte, NC (SportsNetwork.com) - LeBron James carried the Miami Heat.
Hours earlier, he tried to do the same thing for the NBA.
James had 30 points, 10 rebounds and six assists and the Heat rolled to a 98-85 win over the Charlotte Bobcats on Saturday night in Game 3 of their first-round Eastern Conference playoff series.
The Heat grabbed a commanding 3-0 lead in the best-of-seven set heading into Monday's Game 4 in Charlotte.
They took the lead for good with a 23-7 run late in the second quarter and led by double digits throughout the second half -- a much different story from the two games in Miami, when the Bobcats pushed back against the two-time reigning NBA champs.
The Bobcats remained the only current NBA franchise without a playoff victory, falling to 0-7. Saturday marked four years to the day since their last playoff game at home, a loss to Orlando that swept them out of the 2010 playoffs.
James was 10-for-18 from the floor, 9-for-10 on free throws and scored 28 of his 30 points in the first three quarters, including 12 in the third when the Heat stretched their lead to 26.
"That greatness, we don't take it for granted," said Heat coach Erik Spoelstra. "He does it on a nightly basis. Sometimes he makes it look easy. He read the game extremely well -- when to be aggressive, when to turn it up and make plays and try to get into the paint."
Before the game, James said NBA commissioner Adam Silver needed to be aggressive in dealing with Donald Sterling over racially charged comments allegedly made by the Los Angeles Clippers owner.
Silver said the NBA was looking into the comments made on a tape posted online by TMZ to see if Sterling was the one speaking, and that the longtime Clippers owner deserved due process in the matter.
"If the reports are true, it's unacceptable in our league," James said before the game. "You just can't have that in our league."
Dwyane Wade chipped in 17 points and six assists for the second-seeded Heat and Chris Andersen scored 12 off the bench. Chris Bosh, who hit a 3-pointer to put the stops on a 10-0 Bobcats run late in Game 2 on Wednesday, scored just eight in this one.
Miami has beaten Charlotte 19 straight times including the three wins in this series.
Al Jefferson played again despite suffering a plantar fascia strain in his left foot in Game 1 and led the Bobcats with 20 points -- but scored just five after the first quarter (he and three other Charlotte starters sat out the entire fourth).
"They made it tough to be able to get him the ball," said Josh McRoberts, who scored 13 points two days after he was fined $20,000 for elbowing James in the neck in Game 2. "They're the best team in the NBA defensively by a long shot in terms of the athletes they put on the court.
"You guys know it, I know it, they know it, everybody in the gym knows who we want to get the ball to and they did a good job of taking him away and making it tough."
Chris Douglas-Roberts contributed 17 points off the bench for Charlotte.
Jefferson was 7-of-9 for 15 points in the first quarter, most of them coming after the Bobcats had taken a seven-point lead.
Charlotte also had a seven-point lead in the second quarter before Miami's 23-7 run. Bosh and Wade combined to score the first 11 points of the burst and James had the last nine Miami points of the first half to make it 58-46 at the break.
"We're a veteran team and we don't ever get too rattled," said James.
The Heat shot 63.2 percent in the second quarter, more than twice as efficient as Charlotte. They shot 60 percent in the third and led by as many as 26 on a James Jones 3-pointer with four minutes left in the quarter.
The Heat made half of their 3-point attempts and shot 43.4 percent overall ... Charlotte shot 41.5 percent ... Kemba Walker also scored 13 for the Bobcats ... Charlotte's last win over the Heat was March 9, 2010, the season before Miami signed James and Bosh.
04/26 23:19:37 ET