Apr 28, 2014; Charlotte, NC, USA; Miami Heat forward LeBron James (6) celebrates with guard Norris Cole (30) after hitting a shot at the end of the third quarter against the Charlotte Bobcats in game four of the first round of the 2014 NBA Playoffs at Time Warner Cable Arena. The Heat defeated the Bobcats 109-98. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

NBA Playoffs: Monday Recap (VIDEO)


Three games in the NBA Playoffs on Monday night. We finally seen a first round series come to an end. It seems like every first round series match up has been so competitive and closely contested, that the first round has been on forever. That being said, this first round series has been some of the best we’ve seen in the NBA Playoffs in a long time. For the three games on last night, we’ve got video highlights and a recap for all of it. Check them out below. Recaps courtesy of Sports Illustrated.

Miami Heat 109 – Charlotte Bobcats 98 (SI Link)

Heat sweep series 4-0

LeBron James heard the cheers from the crowd as he lay on the court holding his right thigh and writhing in pain.

It only seemed to awaken the four-time league MVP.

James scored 19 of his game-high 31 points after sustaining a thigh bruise early in the third quarter, helping the Miami Heat earn a first-round sweep of the Charlotte Bobcats with a 109-98 victory Monday night. He finished Game 4 10 of 19 from the field and had nine assists.

”It’s definitely sore,” James said. ”I’m fortunate we were able to close out tonight and I can give it a little rest.”

He should have plenty of time.

The two-time defending NBA champions will await the winner of Brooklyn-Toronto series, which is tied 2-2. If that series goes the distance it won’t wrap up until Sunday.

James said playing Charlotte was a good first test and Miami is headed in the right direction as it looks to win its third straight NBA championship.

”We got tested by a young, scrappy Bobcats team,” said James, who averaged 36.2 points in eight games against Charlotte this season. ”We responded with a championship-type attitude.”

Chris Bosh added 17 points and Dwyane Wade battled through foul trouble and finished with 15 as Miami extended its winning streak over Charlotte to 20 games.

The Heat improved to 16-2 in first-round games since James’ arrival four years ago. This was the second straight year the Heat swept their first-round series, taking out Milwaukee in four games last season.

This was Miami’s ninth consecutive series victory.

”We improved every game and that’s the most important thing about this series,” James said.

Miami began to take control midway through the third quarter shortly after James gave his teammates a scare when he drove to the basket from the left wing and his right thigh collided with Bismack Biyombo‘s knee, sending James to the floor.

Concerned teammates gathered around him and he was down for about a minute.

James eventually got up and hobbled to the bench where sat down during a timeout. But he stayed in the game.

After the timeout he buried a 3-pointer and a long jumper before a one-handed dunk to help give Miami a 73-66 lead with 4:51 left in the third quarter. Miami pushed the lead to 13 when Norris Cole knocked down a 3-point buzzer-beater from the right corner at the end of the quarter.

Charlotte never got closer than seven points in the fourth quarter.

Down the stretch, the Heat went to James time and time again with Wade on the bench with five fouls.

James scored 11 points in the fourth quarter, taking advantage of a size advantage against Gerald Henderson.

”LeBron was terrific during that stretch of the fourth quarter,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. ”I thought the last 5 minutes of the fourth quarter there was great execution and trust and the ball was moving and it was just working to the open guy. That was encouraging to see, especially at that time in the game.”

The Bobcats played without Al Jefferson, their leading scorer and rebounder who has been bothered by a foot injury since the first quarter of Game 1.

”If you take away the best offensive player from any team in the league it dramatically changes your team,” Bobcats coach Steve Clifford said.

Kemba Walker picked up the slack, playing tough throughout and finishing with 29 points on 11-of-15 shooting.

”He showed that he is not afraid of the moment,” Clifford said. ”He had a really good year and finished in a good way so we should be happy about him.”

Walker called the game a good learning experience for the inexperienced Bobcats.

”At the same time it’s our first go-around in the playoffs for a lot of us and we can only go up from here,” Walker said.

In the end, turnovers again spelled doom for the Bobcats.

They turned it over 16 times, leading to 22 Heat points, including two dunks by James.

The loss signaled the end of an era for the Bobcats. They will become the Hornets next season.

Before the game the Heat showed solidarity with the Los Angeles Clippers over the Donald Sterling controversy.

Like the Clippers on Sunday, the Heat ran out of the tunnel wearing their warmups, huddled at center court and tossed their white shooting T-shirts to the ground. They then went through their pregame routine with their red Heat warmup jerseys inside out, hiding the team’s logo.

NOTES: Charlotte never won a postseason game as the Bobcats in franchise history. … James scored at least 20 points in all four games. … Tyler Zeller of the Cleveland Cavaliers was in the crowd cheering on his brother Cody, a rookie with the Bobcats.

Atlanta Haws 107 – Indiana Pacers 97 (SI Link)

Hawks lead series 3-2

Atlanta’s Mike Scott hit Indiana with the first 3-point barrage Monday night.

The Hawks’ defense staggered the Pacers with some late stops.

Now Atlanta is heading home with a chance to deliver the knockout punch to the Eastern Conference’s top seed.

Scott scored all 17 of his points during the Hawks’ incredible second-quarter run, and the defense fended off the Pacers’ frantic fourth-quarter charge to hold on for a 107-97 victory and a stunning 3-2 lead in the first-round series.

”We can play with this team,” Scott said. ”They’re a great team, especially at home, great players, great coach, but we have a belief in ourselves as well.”

Why not?

All the Hawks have to do is protect their home court and they will reach the second round for the first time since 2011, and throw the East into disarray after the talk all season was about an Indiana-Miami rematch in the conference finals.

That looks like a long shot now. The Pacers haven’t won consecutive games with their regular starters in the lineup since mid-March and the league’s best regular-season home team (35-6) has inexplicably given away home court advantage to the Hawks – twice.

They’re making it look easy, too.

Atlanta shredded one of the league’s top defenses during a remarkable second quarter, making 13 of 16 shots overall and 9 of 11 from beyond the arc. Scott made all five of his 3s during the decisive 30-6 run, which actually started with the final basket of the first quarter, to turn a 21-18 deficit into a 48-27 lead.

Indiana never recovered.

Atlanta outscored the Pacers 41-19 during that 12-minute stretch, matching the second-highest second-quarter scoring total in the franchise’s postseason history. The Hawks scored 41 against Detroit on March 17, 1986, and the St. Louis Hawks had 45 against Fort Wayne on March 14, 1957.

Indiana, meanwhile, allowed a second-quarter franchise record, breaking the previous mark of 39 points set by Boston on April 23, 2005.

The Hawks joined the 1970 Milwaukee Bucks as the only road teams in the shot-clock era to score at least 40 points in a quarter and give up fewer than 19.

Not enough? Atlanta tied an NBA record with 9 3-pointers, most recently done in 2008, and also broke the franchise playoff record for 3s in a game with 15. The previous mark was 12.

”I didn’t even know,” Kyle Korver said after making two 3s in the second quarter and another late in the game to keep the Hawks in control. ”Mike got hot. I don’t know how many 3s he hit in that quarter. Mike hadn’t shot the ball as well as he did tonight, but he hasn’t shot that well all series.”

Shelvin Mack led the Hawks with 20 points, while Paul Millsap had 18.

The Pacers, meanwhile, endured yet another bleak chapter in a second-half collapse that could go down as the worst in NBA history – if they lose either of the next two games.

And it was downright dismal.

Roy Hibbert finished without a point or a rebound for the first time in his playoff career. Indiana was outrebounded for the first time in the series and its rebuilt bench was outscored 45-23.

Paul George led the Pacers with 26 points and 12 rebounds. George Hill, Lance Stephenson and David West all had 16 points, not quite enough to rally on a night they were again serenaded with boos in the first half.

”It was frustrating because we didn’t make a change,” George said of the Pacers’ defense. ”We let them run the same action, the same shot. We didn’t do nothing. So that was frustrating.”

The game changed in a hurry.

Atlanta opened the second quarter with a free throw from Mack to tie the score at 21. Scott then made four consecutive 3s to push the lead to 33-21. Mack followed that with a midrange jumper, Korver made a 3, Scott scored on a putback and Korver hit his second 3. Mack followed that with two free throws and Scott closed the run with his last 3 of the game to make it 48-27.

The Pacers still trailed 61-40 at halftime and by as many as 30 points in the third quarter before the frantic comeback.

Indiana cut the deficit to 85-67 late in the third and with the crowd urging them on, the Pacers made it 96-87 on C.J. Watson‘s layup with 4:04 to go.

But Korver answered with a 3 and the Hawks closed it out at the free throw line.

”We don’t do much for moral victories, we just dropped the ball,” West said. ”Everybody’s got to be ready to play and I didn’t think we responded well enough.”

Notes: The Pacers had a moment of silence to honor former coach Jack Ramsay, who died Monday at age 89. Ramsay led the Pacers to the first NBA playoff win in franchise history. … Atlanta has three wins at Bankers Life Fieldhouse and is the only team to beat Indiana on its home court more than once this season. … The Pacers are 0-10 in series when trailing 3-2.

San Antonio Spurs 93 – Dallas Mavericks 89 (SI Link)

Series tied 2-2

Manu Ginobili scored 23 points, Boris Diaw hit a go-ahead 3-pointer in the final minute and the San Antonio Spurs held off a second-half surge by Dallas to beat the Mavericks 93-89 on Monday night, pulling even in their first-round playoff series.

The Spurs regained the home-court advantage by getting a split of two games in Dallas, matching what the eighth-seeded Mavericks did in San Antonio.

The Spurs led by 20 points in the third quarter before the Mavericks pulled even midway through the fourth quarter of Game 4. The score was still tied when Diaw hit from long range over Dirk Nowitzki at the top of the key for a 90-87 lead.

Monta Ellis led Dallas with 20 points but missed two potential tying shots after Diaw’s basket.

Game 5 is Wednesday night in San Antonio.

Nowitzki, who had 19 points and was held under 20 in a fourth straight playoff game for the first time since his first postseason in 2001, had a putback on a missed 3 by Ellis to get Dallas within 90-89. But the Mavericks let nearly 10 seconds run off the clock before fouling Ginobili with 10 seconds left.

Ginobili missed one of the free throws, giving Ellis a chance to tie on a driving layup two nights after Vince Carter hit a buzzer-beating 3-pointer for a one-point Dallas win in Game 3. Ellis’ shot rimmed out, and Ginobili hit two more free throws to clinch the win.

Tim Duncan and Tiago Splitter had double-doubles for the Spurs, with Duncan getting 14 points and 10 rebounds and Splitter adding 10 points and 12 boards. Diaw finished with 17 points.

San Antonio, which led from early in the second quarter until late in the fourth, was down 83-82 when former teammate DeJuan Blair was ejected for kicking Splitter in the back of the head after getting called for a foul when he got tangled up with the San Antonio center as both players fell to the court.

Ginobili, who had five assists, made the technical free throw for an 83-all tie, and Splitter hit both free throws on the foul for an 85-83 San Antonio lead.

Blair had a big hand in getting Dallas back in the game, scoring all 12 of his points and grabbing nine of his 11 rebounds in the second half.

Both teams wore black socks in support of the Los Angeles Clippers as the NBA investigates racist comments that owner Donald Sterling is alleged to have made in a taped conversation.

San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich challenged his team to play with more ”nastiness” after falling behind in the series with two straight losses, and his Spurs responded in the first half.

The best display was in a dominant second quarter, when the Spurs outscored the Mavericks 32-13. Kawhi Leonard intended to swat Carter’s driving shot into the stands. Instead, Patty Mills dived into the seats to save it, sending the Spurs on a fast break that ended with a miss by Tony Parker.

Parker’s miss didn’t matter, though, because the Mavericks were in the middle of a 5-minute scoreless stretch that included eight straight misses to cap a 2-of-18 shooting spell from late in the first quarter to late in the second. Dallas shot 21 percent in the second quarter.

The Mavericks warmed up in the second half, but still finished at 38 percent. Ellis was 6 of 20 from the field.

Dallas hurt itself with missed free throws. Samuel Dalembert was 1 of 6 from the line two nights after he hit two late to get Dallas even in a back-and-forth final minute. The Mavericks were 18 of 28 from the line.

NOTES: Dalembert had 15 rebounds but just three points. … The Spurs improved to 25-0 on the road when leading after three quarters. They are 53-1 overall.

 

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