Sunday, April 22, 2018

Heat rallies to beat Bobcats in NBA playoff opener

MIAMI — Each of the past two Heat championship runs has been highlighted by moments in which a sharpshooter enters a game and provides a surprise spark.

James Jones got his turn Sunday.

And the lift he brought, combined with the expected playoff showings from LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, have Miami off and running in these playoffs.

James scored 27, Wade added 23 and the Heat rode two big runs — one late in the first half, the other down the stretch — to beat the Bobcats 99-88 in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference first-round series. Miami trailed for much of the first half but rallied and has now topped Charlotte 17 straight times.

"We were flat to start," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. "I think our guys were just anxious."

Jones didn't play in the first half of any playoff game last season and was out of the rotation much of this year. But when he checked in with 4:19 left in the first half, Miami led 35-34.

"Hell of a spark," Wade said.

Before long, it was 47-36, Jones scoring four of those late as Miami was wrapping up a 19-2 run. The 6-foot-8 Miami native and former Hurricanes star added five more in the third, and his 3-pointer with 10:08 left kick-started what became the game-deciding spurt down the stretch.

"When you're dressed, you're expected to perform," Jones said.

Game 2 of the best-of-seven series is Wednesday. Charlotte's Al Jefferson will be getting plenty of treatment until then.

Kemba Walker scored 20 for the Bobcats, who started fast behind Jefferson. But he was diagnosed with a strained left plantar fascia after a misstep in the first quarter and got two injections just to continue playing.

"We did some really good things," Walker said. "We just have to keep executing throughout the game. We can't get rattled."

Jefferson still finished with 18 points and 10 rebounds but left the arena in a walking boot.

"Just got to suck it up, man," said Jefferson, who confessed that he's no fan of needles but insisted he doesn't plan on sitting out.

Heat 99, Bobcats 88

CHARLOTTE (88): Kidd-Gilchrist 2-4 1-1 5, McRoberts 6-9 0-0 15, Jefferson 9-17 0-0 18, Walker 6-15 5-6 20, Henderson 3-9 0-1 6, Zeller 2-3 0-0 4, Neal 7-16 1-2 17, Ridnour 1-5 0-0 2, Douglas-Roberts 0-1 1-2 1, Biyombo 0-0 0-0 0, Tolliver 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 36-79 8-12 88.

MIAMI (99): James 8-16 7-10 27, Haslem 0-2 2-2 2, Bosh 4-13 3-4 13, Chalmers 3-7 0-0 7, Wade 10-16 2-3 23, Cole 3-5 0-0 7, Lewis 0-2 0-0 0, Allen 0-4 0-0 0, Andersen 3-5 2-4 8, Jones 4-6 2-3 12. Totals 35-76 18-26 99.

Charlotte 23 19 23 23— 88

Miami 19 30 23 27— 99

3-Point GoalsCharlotte 8-21 (McRoberts 3-5, Walker 3-6, Neal 2-5, Ridnour 0-1, Douglas-Roberts 0-1, Henderson 0-3), Miami 11-23 (James 4-8, Jones 2-3, Bosh 2-4, Cole 1-1, Wade 1-2, Chalmers 1-2, Allen 0-1, Lewis 0-2). Fouled OutNone. ReboundsCharlotte 50 (Jefferson 10), Miami 46 (Andersen 10). AssistsCharlotte 18 (Walker 6), Miami 14 (Wade 5). Total FoulsCharlotte 17, Miami 12. A19,640 (19,600).

Wizards stun Bulls

CHICAGO — Nene dominated with 24 points, Trevor Ariza scored 18 and the Wizards rallied from 13 down to beat the Bulls 102-93.

John Wall scored 16 in his postseason debut. Marcin Gortat added 15 points and 13 rebounds, and fifth-seeded Washington pulled out the victory, even though it looked as if it were ready to be blown out.

The Wizards cut a 13-point deficit to one in the third and trailed by three going into the fourth before outscoring Chicago 18-6 over the final six minutes to win in their first playoff appearance since 2008.

"We had a team dinner, and after that, in the middle of the night I started thinking about what I'm going to do," Nene said. "How I'm going to defend. … Things like that. It's a good feeling."

Wizards 102, Bulls 93

WASHINGTON (102): Ariza 5-8 5-6 18, Nene 11-17 2-5 24, Gortat 6-10 3-4 15, Wall 4-14 8-10 16, Beal 3-11 7-7 13, Booker 1-3 1-2 3, Webster 1-3 0-1 3, Miller 5-7 0-0 10, Gooden 0-0 0-0 0, Harrington 0-1 0-0 0, Temple 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 36-74 26-35 102.

CHICAGO (93): Dunleavy 4-12 0-0 11, Boozer 5-10 1-1 11, Noah 4-6 2-2 10, Hinrich 7-16 0-0 16, Butler 6-12 3-7 15, Augustin 3-15 10-10 16, Gibson 4-6 4-6 12, Mohammed 0-0 0-0 0, Snell 1-4 0-0 2. Totals 34-81 20-26 93.

Washington 24 24 24 30— 102

Chicago 22 32 21 18— 93

3-Point GoalsWashington 4-11 (Ariza 3-5, Webster 1-3, Wall 0-1, Beal 0-2), Chicago 5-20 (Dunleavy 3-8, Hinrich 2-5, Butler 0-1, Snell 0-2, Augustin 0-4). Fouled OutNene. ReboundsWashington 54 (Gortat 13), Chicago 46 (Noah 10). AssistsWashington 21 (Beal 7), Chicago 13 (Noah 4). Total FoulsWashington 26, Chicago 25. TechnicalsHinrich, Chicago defensive three second 2. A21,694 (20,917).

Duncan lifts Spurs

SAN ANTONIO, Texas — Tim Duncan overcame a brief injury scare to score 27 as the Spurs held the Mavericks to one field goal in the final seven minutes to rally for a 90-85 win.

San Antonio won despite making 3 of 17 3-pointers and getting only 23 points from its normally potent bench.

"We got killed on 3s in the first four outings this year," Mavericks star Dirk Nowitzki said. "It was no secret; we stayed home a little more on 3-point shooters, but you've got to give them something, and Duncan in there is obviously still solid."

Duncan scored nine on 4-for-5 shooting from the paint in the final quarter to help the Spurs overcome a 10-point deficit.

"Timmy, he's not going to score 24 a game or anything like that," San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said. "He's the base from which everything else occurs, whether he's scoring or not. It just gives us a comfort level and a point from which to operate."

POPS SHOWS HEART: Popovich said he looks forward to sideline reporter Craig Sager's return and "I promise I'll be nice." TNT's Sager is missing the NBA playoffs as he gets treated for leukemia. His son Craig Sager Jr. filled in for Sunday's broadcast.

Spurs 90, Mavericks 85

DALLAS (85): Marion 4-11 0-0 8, Nowitzki 4-14 3-4 11, Dalembert 1-2 0-0 2, Calderon 3-9 0-0 7, Ellis 4-14 3-4 11, Harris 8-16 0-0 19, Carter 5-11 0-0 10, Blair 0-0 0-0 0, Crowder 2-3 0-0 6, Wright 4-5 3-5 11. Totals 35-85 9-13 85.

SAN ANTONIO (90): Leonard 4-11 3-4 11, Duncan 12-20 3-5 27, Splitter 3-6 2-4 8, Parker 9-16 3-3 21, Green 0-2 0-0 0, Ginobili 4-10 6-6 17, Belinelli 0-4 0-0 0, Diaw 2-8 0-0 4, Mills 1-4 0-0 2, Bonner 0-0 0-0 0, Ayres 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 35-81 17-22 90.

Dallas 12 32 21 20— 85

San Antonio 21 22 22 25— 90

3-Point GoalsDallas 6-18 (Harris 3-7, Crowder 2-2, Calderon 1-2, Nowitzki 0-1, Marion 0-2, Ellis 0-2, Carter 0-2), San Antonio 3-17 (Ginobili 3-6, Diaw 0-1, Parker 0-1, Green 0-1, Belinelli 0-2, Mills 0-3, Leonard 0-3). Fouled OutNone. ReboundsDallas 44 (Dalembert, Nowitzki 8), San Antonio 61 (Splitter 11). AssistsDallas 15 (Harris 5), San Antonio 14 (Parker 6). Total FoulsDallas 19, San Antonio 16. A18,581 (18,797).

INDIANA BLASTED: TNT analyst Charles Barkley unloaded on the East's No. 1 seed, the Pacers, who lost Game 1 Saturday at home to the Hawks. "I'm an Indiana fan because of everything (they) stand for," he said, "but to come out and play like flat wussies … and I'm only calling y'all wussies because I don't want to get the FCC (mad) at me. … They're embarrassing Coach (Frank) Vogel and the great Larry Bird," the team's president of basketball operations.

BLOWN CALL: The NBA said referees missed a foul call late in the Warriors' Game 1 win that would have given the Clippers a chance to tie the score. Los Angeles point guard Chris Paul lost the ball out of bounds with 18.9 seconds left Saturday and Golden State leading 107-105. Rod Thorn, the league's president for basketball operations, said that the Warriors' Draymond Green should have been whistled for a foul.

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