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Miami opens playoffs in style

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

MIAMI - LeBron James and Dwyane Wade combined for 50 points to lead two-time defending NBA champions Miami to a 99-88 victory over Charlotte in their post-season opener.

James made four of the Heat's 11 three-pointers and finished with 27 points and nine rebounds as the Heat seized the advantage in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference first-round series.

Wade added 23 points and five assists for the Heat, who are trying to become the first club to win three straight NBA titles since the Los Angeles Lakers did it from 2000-2002.

The star-studded Heat finished out the regular-season with three straight defeats, and conceded the top seed in the East to the Indiana Pacers.

Yesterday, however, it was clear James had meant it when he said he was looking forward to the playoffs — "the best part of the season".

He and Wade connected on 18 of their 32 attempts from the field, while Kemba Walker's 20-point effort led the Bobcats, who are in the playoffs for just the second time and have never won a post-season game.

In the West, San Antonio — led by Tim Duncan's 27 points — rallied for a 90-85 victory over Dallas to open their playoff series.

The Spurs, trying to get back to the NBA finals after falling to the Miami Heat in last year's championship series, trailed 81-71 with 7:45 left to play, but closed the game on a 19-4 scoring run to secure the win.

They host game two of the best-of-seven Western Conference set on Wednesday.

Duncan added seven rebounds for the Spurs, whose All-Star point guard Tony Parker added 21 points, six assists and four rebounds as San Antonio notched their 10th straight victory over their intra-state rivals.

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