Heat 98, Bobcats 85
LeBron James had 30 points and 10 rebounds, and the Miami Heat defeated the host Charlotte Bobcats on Saturday night to take a 3-0 lead in the Eastern Conference first-round series.
Dwyane Wade added 17 points for the Heat, who can close out the best-of-seven series Monday night.
James, who was an efficient 10-of-18 from the field, pushed his record to 18-0 against the Bobcats since joining the Heat in 2010. Miami has won 19 straight overall against Charlotte.
Al Jefferson had 20 points for the Bobcats, who are still searching for the first postseason win in franchise history.
After trailing most of the first half, the Heat took a 42-40 lead on a 3-pointer by Mario Chalmers. Miami closed the half on a 16-4 run.
Norris Cole hit a 5-foot bank shot and then buried a 3-pointer from the left wing to put the Heat up by five and Miami was off to the races.
The Heat made eight of their first 11 3-point attempts.
The half, which had started with so much energy and promise for the Bobcats, ended with a colossal mistake by guard Gerald Henderson. With the clock winding down, he turned the ball over in the backcourt with 2 seconds left and then fouled James while the Miami forward was attempting a 3-pointer. James made the Bobcats pay by sinking three free throws with 0.2 left on the clock to give the Heat a 58-46 advantage at the break.
The second half was all Miami.
James, who was booed loudly almost every time he touched the ball, hit a key 3-pointer and had a breakaway dunk in the third quarter to help push the lead to 26 midway through the third and the Bobcats never mounted a series challenge after that point.
Pacers 91, Hawks 88
Paul George and David West hit key 3-pointers down the stretch, and the top-seeded Indiana Pacers held off the host Atlanta Hawks to even the opening-round series at two wins apiece.
In a game they had to have, the Pacers finally showed some grit and regained the home-court edge. George put the Pacers ahead 86-85 with a jumper beyond the arc, and West hit another 3-pointer with 1:33 remaining.
Atlanta had a chance after Kyle Korver was fouled in the corner and knocked down three free throws, taking advantage of a do-over after the Pacers were called for a lane violation on the third attempt. But George pulled down an offensive rebound to set up George Hillís driving shot with 56 seconds left.
Pero Antic missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer that wouldíve forced overtime.
Game 5 is Monday in Indianapolis.
George scored 24 points and West added 18. Paul Millsap led the Hawks with 29, but the All-Star forward struggled in the final minute.
First, he turned the ball over with a bad pass. Then, he missed a spinning shot in the lane after Atlanta passed on a chance at a tying 3-pointer.
Mavericks 109, Spurs 108
Vince Carter hit a double-pump 3-pointer at the buzzer to give the host Dallas Mavericks a victory in Game 3 and a first-round series lead over the top-seeded San Antonio Spurs.
Carter took an inbound pass from Jose Calderon with 1.7 seconds left in the left corner. After a quick pump fake in front of Manu Ginobili, Carter released the ball just before the buzzer. The winning shot was held up on review.
Ginobili had given the Spurs a 108-106 lead on a layup before Dallas called timeout to set up the play for Carter.
Monta Ellis kept the eighth-seeded Mavericks close in the fourth quarter and finished with 29 points.
Tim Duncan led the Spurs with 22 points.
Game 4 is Monday night in Dallas.
Ginobili, who scored 12 points, dribbled out most of the last 24 seconds before going around Duncan and scoring over Samuel Dalembert. His go-ahead shot spun around the rim and almost came out before falling in.
The Mavericks kept the home-court advantage they earned by taking Game 2 in San Antonio, even though the Spurs held Dirk Nowitzki under 20 points in a third straight playoff game for the first time since they did it to him in his first postseason in 2001. The big German finished with 18.
Dallas still had a chance in the closing seconds because of Ellis, who had a playoff career high that included 12 fourth-quarter points. He tied the score twice in the final 1:10, first with a three-point play on a floater after he was fouled by Boris Diaw.
After Diaw put the Spurs back in front with a baseline jumper, Ellis hit another high floater in the lane with 24.9 seconds left, setting up Ginobiliís dramatic shot.