LEBRON JAMES drove to the rim as time was winding down, got clobbered by Josh McRoberts and sat on the hardwood gathering himself for a few seconds afterward. It was fitting. Miami took Charlotte's best shot, and survived.
James scored 32 points and added eight assists, Chris Bosh scored 20 points and the Heat wasted two big leads before hanging on to beat the visiting Bobcats 101-97 on Wednesday night to take a 2-0 lead in their Eastern Conference first-round series.
Dwyane Wade scored 15 points, and had a steal in the final seconds to seal the win for Miami. He stripped the ball from Chris Douglas-Roberts with the Heat protecting a three-point lead with about 3 seconds left, and the Bobcats never got another shot off.
"A very instinctual, high-risk play," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. "The ball's there and you know you have an opportunity to get it when most people can't get that, and that saved the game."
Game 3 is Saturday in Charlotte.
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.
"He's not anywhere close to 100 percent," Bobcats coach Steve Clifford said. "But we can play through him . . . You've got to respect the fact he's out there battling. He has no mobility, basically. Limited mobility and yet he had 18 and 13, and he fought hard."
So was McRoberts - maybe too hard for Miami's liking.
Miami's lead was 97-94 with 50 seconds left when James drove and was met at the rim by McRoberts, whose right elbow struck the four-time NBA MVP around his chin. James immediately began grabbing at his throat and needed much longer than he usually does to get up after a hard foul, which was not called flagrant.
Said McRoberts, who insisted it wasn't intentional: "It looked a lot worse than what it was."
James hit the second of his two free throws, making it a two-possession game - and that was critical. Kemba Walker made a three-pointer with 11.9 seconds left to get Charlotte within one, but the Bobcats didn't score again.
"I think we're still really confident," Walker said. "We just have to learn from our mistakes . . . We're going to dissect these guys as well as we can and get ready for the next one. I think we have a chance, man."
Walker finished with 16 and Gerald Henderson scored 15 for the Bobcats. Mario Chalmers scored 11 for Miami.
In another game:
* At San Antonio, Monta Ellis scored 21 points and the Dallas Mavericks rolled to a 113-92 victory, snapping a 10-game skid against the Spurs and evening their first-round series at a game apiece. Shawn Marion scored 20 points, Dirk Nowitzki added 16, Devin Harris had 18 and Jose Calderon 12 for Dallas, which never trailed after the opening minutes of the second quarter.
Manu Ginobili had 27 points, Tony Parker added 12 and Tim Duncan 11 for the Spurs.
Dallas didn't relent in Game 2 after blowing a 10-point lead in the final 8 minutes of the series opener. San Antonio's ineptness had as much to do with tying the series, however. The Spurs finished with 22 turnovers, which resulted in 33 points for the Mavericks.
* Goran Dragic, whose breakout season helped the Phoenix Suns make a remarkable transformation, received the NBA's most improved award at a ceremony at US Airways Center.