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NBA Playoff Preview: Charlotte Bobcats vs. Miami Heat

Apr 18, 2014, 10:31 PM EDT

REGULAR SEASON RECORDS

Charlotte Bobcats: 43-39 (7 seed)
Miami Heat: 54-28 (2 seed)

KEY INJURIES

None.

OFFENSE/DEFENSE RANKINGS (points per 100 possessions)

Charlotte Bobcats: 101.2 (24th), Defense 101.2 (6th in the NBA)

Miami Heat: Offense 109 (2nd in the NBA), Defense 102.9 (11th in the NBA)

THREE KEYS TO THE SERIES

1. Al Jefferson: The Bobcats’ big free agent signing last summer is the reason the team finds itself in the playoffs for the first time since 2010, and just the second time since the franchise moved to Charlotte in 2004. Jefferson has been the anchor offensively, averaging 21.8 points and hauling down 10.8 rebounds per game. And that’s going to be a problem for Miami, considering that defending elite post players is where the team struggles most defensively. Jefferson will need to increase his output against the Heat’s soft front line defense, or at the very least, cause double teams defensively that open up shots for his teammates.

2. Healthy Heat: Miami played too many games this season at less than full strength, with players being shuffled in and out of the lineup to compensate over the long, 82-game grind of the regular season. But all 15 players practiced in advance of the first round matchup, and you can bet that Greg Oden will get some run defensively trying to slow Jefferson. Having Dwyane Wade available for the postseason push will obviously be a boost as well, but for Miami the goal here is to find some chemistry with its best players, and form a playoff rotation moving forward that it can rely on as the team moves deeper into the postseason.

3. How quickly does Miami flip the switch? It’s been a long regular season for the Heat, but now that the playoffs are here, it should theoretically be go time. No team has made it to the Finals four straight seasons in almost 30 years, and there’s a reason for that. For Miami to become the first, it will need to get to the more meaningful matchups as quickly as possible, while exerting the minimum amount of energy to do so. This Heat team hasn’t historically swept its playoff opponents, but if it can dispatch the Bobcats in four straight, it may give us an indication of juts how ready they are to begin their title defense.

PREDICTION

It really comes down to whether or not the combination of the Bobcats solid defense and Al Jefferson’s inside presence can combine to give the Heat fits for one or two games. It would take an extremely strange set of circumstances for Charlotte to earn four victories, and we’ll go with the more likely scenario that they manage to squeak out one instead.

Heat in 5.

  1. engh533 - Apr 18, 2014 at 11:12 PM

    Miami in 7 and this is from a Miami fan

    • ranfan12 - Apr 19, 2014 at 6:47 AM

      Miami in 7 losses. Al is going to rip them apart

      • spthegr8 - Apr 19, 2014 at 9:37 AM

        ^^^^^ Ya’ll are trippin. Heat in 5. They might even break out the broom for the Bobcats!!! ^^^^

  2. shadowgamesshades - Apr 18, 2014 at 11:27 PM

    Heat in 4.

  3. jadaruler - Apr 19, 2014 at 12:09 AM

    Heat in 5 hard fought games.

    • moseskkim - Apr 19, 2014 at 12:43 AM

      Youre crazy if you really think its going to be hard fought each game. At least a couple blowouts by miami guaranteed

      • fanofthegame79 - Apr 19, 2014 at 1:04 AM

        There will be a close game and a win by Charlotte, but Miami in 5.

  4. miamatt - Apr 19, 2014 at 11:00 AM

    Miami will cruise, but this series does offer them the chance to work on defending the post against a real bruiser. Haslem has been great since being dusted off, and his play will be a major x-factor to watch all postseason with Miami.

    I’m not so sure that Oden will get any kind of run, I think that ship has sailed for this season. But if Spoelstra does have any intention of using him throughout the playoffs, he will without a doubt get a chance to show what he can do in this series.

  5. cantonbound13 - Apr 19, 2014 at 2:47 PM

    Only a random drug test will keep the Heat from taking this series.

    • leahcima1 - Apr 19, 2014 at 6:56 PM

      cantona**hole0 never disappoints. Biggest loser in sports history. Bigger then the Cubbies. The Cubbies at least made it the big show in ’45. Would hate to see him go. As long as he’s around the Knicks will suck and the Heat will keep on winning. Negative karma. Don’t ever leave Bibendum.

      • cantonbound13 - Apr 20, 2014 at 11:09 AM

        The fact that you believe the sports team you support proves wether you are successful or a failure in life is truely sad. Let’s go with your theory. Of the 3 major sports: football, baseball & basketball I support the Dolphins (2 championships), the Yankees (27 championships), & the Knicks (2 championships). That’s a total of 31 championships. You are a fan of the Dolphins also, Marlins (2 championships) & currently the worst franchise in all of sports & the Heat (3 championships).
        That’s a grad total of 31-7. That’s more than 4 times the amount of championships your teams have won. So by your ridiculous theory, I see you are the true loser!

      • cantonbound13 - Apr 20, 2014 at 11:11 AM

        Once again you prove what an ignorant big mouth you are.

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