James Jones got his turn Sunday.
And the lift he brought, combined with the expected playoff showings from LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, have the Heat off and running in these playoffs.
James scored 27 points, Wade added 23 and the Heat rode two big runs — one late in the first half, the other down the stretch — to beat the Charlotte 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.”
Game 2 of the best-of-seven series is Wednesday. Al Jefferson will be getting plenty of treatment until then.
Kemba Walker scored 20 points for the Bobcats, who started fast behind Jefferson — who was diagnosed with a strained left plantar fascia after a misstep in the first quarter, and got a pair of injections just to continue playing.
Jefferson still finished with 18 points and 10 rebounds — yet in what can’t be a real exciting sign for Charlotte, he left the arena in a walking boot.
Gary Neal scored 17 and Josh McRoberts added 15 for Charlotte, which shot only 12 free throws compared to 26 by Miami, and allowed the Heat to turn their 15 turnovers into 20 points.