Postscripts from the Heat’s 98-85 Game 3 win against Charlotte at Time Warner Cable Arena:
### This was the Heat’s best road performance against a playoff team in two months, since winning by 22 in Oklahoma City shortly after the All-Star break, and an encouraging sign not only after a closer-than-it-needed-to-be win in Game 2, but also in the wake of the 11-14 close to the regular season.
So now make it 19 wins in a row against Charlotte overall, 18 straight since LeBron James took a job here.
Remember, the Heat won the same number of road games (22) as Phoenix, Washington and Toronto during the regular season and entered just 4-10 on the road against Eastern Conference playoff teams (two of those wins against Charlotte) and having lost six of its previous eight road games overall.
But forget all of that. This is a different team in postseason, as Chris Bosh reminded everyone Friday.
“Our guys wanted this opportunity on the road,” Erik Spoelstra said. “Going through that struggle [on the road the past two months] hopefully made us better. The guys were looking forward to going on the road and taking this challenge.”
### The Heat offered another reminder of how suffocating its defense can be when it’s engaged and interested.
Miami allowed just 10 field goals combined over the second and third quarters, albeit against a team that can be offensively challenged at times. "One of our best defensive efforts in a while," Dwyane Wade said. "Our defense was phenomenal."
Charlotte didn’t hit a shot from the field in the third quarter until Kemba Walker’s three-pointer six minutes into the second half. Then the Bobcats went another 2:19 without a basket until Josh McRoberts hit a three. The Bobcats closed at 41.5 percent from the field, with 15 turnovers for a team that averaged a league-low 12.3 this season.
### After abusing the Heat with 15 points on 7 for 9 shooting in the first quarter, Al Jefferson scored just five the rest of the way, on 1 for 4 shooting, with Chris Bosh and Udonis Haslem and others doing a better job of denying him the ball.
“Every catch was exactly where he wanted it [in the first quarter],” Spoelstra said. “It was too easy. We didn’t have a disposition. And then it changed. Everyone was upset about it during the timeout.”
"We adjusted, denied him catches on the post," Chris Anderson said.
Bobcats coach Steve Clifford said because of his plantar fascia strain, Jefferson "is a shell of himself. They made it so difficult to get him the ball. He doesn't have the same mobility."
### LeBron James justifiably torched Clipper owner Donald Sterling before the game, then torched the Bobcats by flashing his complete arsenal of moves, including a couple of fadeaway jumpers that would be eye-opening for virtually anyone except James, Kevin Durant and Kobe Bryant. He closed with 30 points (10 for 18), 10 rebounds and six assists.
James improved to 35-7 in the first round of the playoffs and is on the verge of being 9-0 in those series.
"The most important thing for us is that we're healthy," LeBron said. "We have our whole team. We can go 15 deep if need be."
### ESPN's Dave Pasch said James gazed at Bobcats owner Michael Jordan while dribbling down court, just before an open court dunk, and video shows James peered off to the side (though it wasn't clear what, if anything, he was looking at). James disputed Pasch's comment. "Absolutely didn't look at MJ for sure," he said.
### After the Bobcats tied the game for the final time at 42, the Heat took control with a 16-4 spurt to close the first half, then stretched the lead to as many as 26.
By the end of the third quarter, Jordan had left his courtside seat (though presumably not the building).
“We played a great game on the road, better than we did the first two at home,” Dwyane Wade said. Wade, by the way, chipped in 17 points (7 for 16 shooting), with six assists.
### Spoelstra: “I told the guys it was a professional approach. Our approach the last 48 hours was encouraging, to really lock in. We’ll have to do it again. You don’t want a series to go longer than it needs to.”
### Miami shot just 43.4 percent but committed just seven turnovers.
### The Heat didn’t need much offensively from Chris Bosh (8 points, 3 for 4 shooting in 33 minutes). But he did good work against Jefferson in the second half when the Heat went with a small lineup.
“In the third quarter, he was outstanding, putting a lot more pressure on Jefferson’s catches,” Spoelstra said. “Either he couldn’t catch it in the post or had to catch it further out.”
### Birdman struggled against Jefferson late in the first quarter but played well otherwise, as usual, with 12 points and seven boards in 22 minutes. “It’s vital for us,” Spoelstra said. “He injects that instant energy, athleticism. He plays until he has zero in the tank. You wish everybody would play with that type of intensity. That energy gets infectious.”
### A trend: The Heat outscored Charlotte by 16 with James Jones on the court, making him a remarkable plus-38 in 42 minutes in this series. Jones shot just 1 for 6, but spreading the floor clearly has worked in this series.
### After shooting just 34 percent after the All-Star break, Norris Cole has recaptured last year’s postseason magic. Cole, who shot 48 percent and 17 for 32 on threes in postseason last year, is now 8-for-17 overall through three games and 4 for 7 on threes. Miami is plus 27 with Cole on the court so far this postseason.
### By the way, no team has ever lost an NBA series after taking a 3-0 lead. The Heat took a 3-0 lead in the first round each of the first three years of the Big Three, but swept only one of those three series (against Milwaukee last year).
### This one can’t get over quickly enough. The second round likely would start next Sunday for the Heat if the Nets or Raptors win their series in six games or fewer. If Brooklyn-Toronto goes seven, the Heat could be facing an eight-day break if it sweeps Charlotte.
### From NBA TV's postgame show: "Washington can give [Miami] some problems because they can score inside," former Raptors coach Sam Mitchell said. "I'm not saying they can beat them. But they can make them uncomfortable with their two bigs [if Washington makes the Eastern Finals]. That's their Achilles'... You see what Al Jefferson did to them on one leg."...
"You've got to be perfect" to beat Miami "on both ends," former Knicks coach Mike Woodson said....
Dennis Scott: "In the Eastern Conference, I don't see anyone getting in their way," before noting several Western Conference teams obviously could.
### Earlier in the day, TNT's Kenny Smith said: "I don't think the Heat can win another championship this year."... TNT's Charles Barkley added: "The key is going to be LeBron. You have to beat him four times. He has a lot of dead weight to carry. He has to score the most baskets and get all the rebounds. They are limited inside and will always struggle against big guys. They are vulnerable this year."
Please check back Sunday for the Sunday buzz column, with lots of NFL draft stuff and other notes.