MIAMI — LeBron James was again to the fore as Miami beat Charlotte on Wednesday to take a 2-0 lead in their NBA first-round playoff series, while Portland also went up 2-0 with a win at Houston and Dallas squared its series against state rival San Antonio.
James scored 32 points and added eight assists while Chris Bosh scored 20 points for the Heat in the 101-97 victory.
The Bobcats took the game right up to the Heat on their own court and Miami needed a steal by Dwyane Wade in the closing seconds before it could be sure of victory. Wade finished with 15 points.
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist scored 22 points for Charlotte, which got 18 points and 13 rebounds from Al Jefferson, who played through a left plantar fascia strain and shot 9 for 23 from the floor.
Portland won 112-105 at Houston, with LaMarcus Aldridge scoring over 40 points for the second straight game of the series.
Aldridge’s 43 points made him the first player to reach 40 points in consecutive playoff games since James did it in 2009. Aldridge scored 46 points in Game 1; a career high and the most ever by a Portland player in a playoff game.
Damian Lillard made six late free throws to secure the valuable road victory.
James Harden knocked down a 3-pointer with about 30 seconds left to get the Rockets within three. Lillard made two free throws before Harden fouled out about 10 seconds later. Mo Williams and Lillard both made a pair of free throws after that to secure the win.
Houston’s Dwight Howard scored 25 points in the first half, but managed just seven in the second half.
The Rockets are one of three Texan teams in the playoffs, and the other two are squared 1-1 in their series after Dallas pulled off a rare win at San Antonio, taking it 113-92.
The Spurs had won their past 10 games against the Mavericks and were expected to extend that streak on their home court, but Dallas was clearly the better team.
The Mavericks took the lead for good in the early part of the second quarter and pulled away, with an even spread of scorers: Monta Ellis had 21 points, Shawn Marion 20, Devin Harris 18, Dirk Nowitzki 16 and Jose Calderon 12.
Dallas did not relent this time unlike Game 1 when they blew a 10-point lead in the final eight minutes. San Antonio was unusually sloppy. A team that averaged 14.4 turnovers per game during the regular season had already passed that number before halftime and finished with 22 for the game, gifting the Mavericks 33 points.
Manu Ginobili had 27 points for the Spurs while Tony Parker added 12 and Tim Duncan 11.