WHETHER the Miami Heat and Los Angeles Clippers meet in the NBA playoffs is unknown, but the Heat players showed they are in solidarity with the Clippers in the Donald Sterling controversy.

As the Clippers did on Sunday, the Heat players last night ran out of the tunnel before their game at Charlotte, wearing their warmups, huddled at center court and tossed their white shooting T-shirts to the ground. They then went through their pregame routine with their red Heat warmup jerseys inside out, hiding the team's logo. It was a silent protest in response to the Clippers owner's purported comments urging a woman to not bring black people to his team's games.

The protest over, the Heat proceeded to turn back the host Bobcats, as LeBron James scored 31 points, and Miami completed a first-round sweep with a 109-98 victory. James scored 19 points after injuring his thigh in the third quarter. He finished the game 10 of 19 from the field and had nine assists.

Speaking afterward on TV about the comments attributed to Sterling, James said: "There's no room for that in our game. We've found a way to make this the greatest game in the world, and for comments like that, it taints our game, and we can't have it."

Chris Bosh added 17 points for Miami, and Dwyane Wade battled through foul trouble and finished with 15 as Miami won its 20th straight over Charlotte.

Kemba Walker led Charlotte with 29 points.

In another game

* At Indiana, Shelvin Mack scored 20 points and the Atlanta Hawks pushed the Pacers to the brink of elimination with a 107-97 win.

Paul George had 26 points and 12 rebounds for Indiana.