The Charlotte Bobcats played their last game ever on Monday, thanks to the defending champion Miami Heat completing their four-game, first round sweep with a 109-98 victory.
Charlotte managed to stay close for the first 24 minutes, and even took a 54-52 lead into the half on the strength of 12 points from Kemba Walker, 10 points from Gary Neal, and Miami’s dismal 2-of-12 shooting performance from three-point distance.
LeBron James went down briefly in the third with what appeared to be a thigh injury, after colliding with Bismack Biyombo on a drive to the basket.
While it didn’t look good initially, LeBron was just fine. He played all 24 minutes of the second half, and scored 20 of his game-high 31 points over the final two periods.
For the Bobcats, there were two performances that stood out. Walker ended up with 29 points on 11-of-15 shooting in almost 43 minutes, and for those obsessed with efficiency, Chris Douglas-Roberts turned in an amazing statistical line in that regard, finishing with 14 points on just three shots in under eight minutes of action.
The Charlotte franchise will now become the Hornets moving forward, and the Bobcats will go down in history as having two playoff appearances in their 10-year run, but never being able to win in the postseason even once in eight tries.
The Heat will simply march on, continuing their quest to reach a fourth straight NBA Finals — something which hasn’t happened in 27 years.
They’ll also have plenty of time to rest.
The earliest that a second round series could begin against either the Nets or the Raptors would be Sunday, and that’s only if one of those teams is able to eliminate the other by winning the next two straight.