CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — The Charlotte Bobcats will have to find a way to stop LeBron James if they hope to win their first playoff game in franchise history.
That's something they've yet to figure out.
Miami is 15-0 against the Bobcats since James signed with the Heat as a free agent in 2010. Charlotte, the No. 7 seed in the Eastern Conference, will play the second-seeded Heat in a best-of-seven series that begins Sunday in Miami.
James is averaging a whopping 37.7 points per game in four outings against the Bobcats this season, buoyed by a career-high 61-point effort on March 3.
Bobcats point guard Kemba Walker called James "one of the best players in the world" and said it will take a total team effort to shut him down and help the Bobcats win.
"We have to make sure there are five guys in front of him at all times," Walker said.
Sometimes even that doesn't help.
Bobcats coach Steve Clifford, selected as the NBA's Eastern Conference Player of the Month on Thursday, wasn't upset the night the Bobcats allowed James to pile up 61 points on 22 of 32 shooting. Clifford's strategy coming into the game was to clog the lane and force James to beat them from the outside, a game plan his players executed fairly well.
The problem was James got hot, knocking down 8 of 10 3-pointers.
Given Miami's overwhelming playoff experience and superior talent, it will hard to find anyone picking an upset in this series. But that hardly means a thing to the Bobcats, who have thrived in the underdog role all season.
"They didn't give us a chance in November, if you remember," Charlotte's Al Jefferson said. "... It's not time to fold now. It's time to take it to another level. We reached our goal and regardless of what happens in the playoffs we are one of the teams that has stood out this year — and we're proud of that. But we want more."
Walker said nobody is invincible — not even James and the Heat.
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