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Game Preview: Bobcats vs Heat Playoffs Game 1

Oh hey, Bobcats. Here's your reward for making the playoffs and playing the most back-to-back games in the league again this year: you get to play the defending NBA Champion Miami Heat in the first round. We love you and have fun. Sincerely, NBA Basketball gods

Mike Ehrmann

It makes sense that if the Bobcats are going to have any hope of making this series against the Miami Heat interesting; They need to somehow steal one of the first two games in Miami. And normally you might think it would be "easier" to maybe sneak up on a sleeping giant in the first game. But I think this giant is about done sleeping.

And besides, over the last two postseasons the Miami Heat have made quick work of their first round opponents and the first game was actually the worst beating of them all. Last year the Heat throttled the Milwaukee Bucks 110-87 to start the sweep and the year before, Miami beat the New York Knicks 100-67. 100. 67.

Now of course those are history. For one, those two Heat teams were on somewhat different missions, and they were hungrier. What does this current Heat squad have left in the tank? We will soon find out but I think it's going to be a step up from the basketball we've seen from them lately.

And of course LeBron James still plays for the Heat. James won't win the MVP award this season, but he is at the peak of his powers and still is the best player in the world. He has put A LOT of minutes in this year with Dwyane Wade sitting out 28 games. But he appears ready to defend his crown and there is nothing like the playoffs to give a limping team a fresh start.

I think James might want to prove something to the rest of the league as well. Not that he has to prove anything, per se, but with all the talk about Kevin Durant winning the MVP, deservedly so, I have a feeling James is going to really want to come out strong and unload on the Bobcats. We could see a very energized King James.

Wade at full strength will make the Heat that much more difficult to stop. We won't know just how healthy he is until we actually get into the games of the postseason. Yes, he played in the final two regular season games but his cruise control was on cruise control in 18 minutes against Washington and 23 against Philadelphia.

This has been the plan all along for the Heat you have to think: keep (or get) Wade healthy for the post season. A healthy Wade with James and Chris Bosh makes things very difficult for Heat opponents.

However, Wade has played in only two of the games against the Bobcats this year and averaged just 10 points in those. The young legs and athleticism of Bobcat defenders could give him some issues, especially early. But he's Dwyane Wade. He's a veteran's vet and he knows how to get through a playoff series.

Chris Bosh has been more consistent and his three point shooting hurt the Bobcats in particular. He's given Al Jefferson fits mainly because he can step out away from the painted area and extend the offense. Jefferson has a more difficult time defending away from the rim so if Bosh is on from outside Charlotte will have to find another way to frustrate him.

For Charlotte, Jefferson and Kemba Walker have to be great in this game and the series. Walker has had his struggles against the Heat (scoring just seven and six points in two of the outings...although 27 and 22 in the other so whatevs) but Charlotte will look to get him comfortable early. When the Bobcats were really in a groove this season Walker and Jefferson were both hot. And as simple as it sounds they're the two best players on the team, so they'll have to play as such.

Here we go. Playoffs.