CHARLOTTE, N.C. — LeBron James scored 31 points, and the Miami Heat completed a first-round sweep of the Charlotte Bobcats with a 109-98 victory Monday night.
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.
Chris Bosh added 17 points and Dwyane Wade battled through foul trouble and finished with 15 as Miami won its 20th straight game over Charlotte.
The two-time defending champion NBA champions will await the winner of Brooklyn-Toronto series, which is tied 2-2.
Kemba Walker led Charlotte with 29 points.
The Bobcats played without Al Jefferson, their leading scorer and rebounder who has been bothered by a foot injury since the first quarter of Game 1.
The loss signaled the end of an era for the Bobcats. They will become the Hornets next season.
The Heat improved to 16-2 in first-round games since James’ arrival four years ago. This was the second straight year the Heat swept their first-round series, taking out Milwaukee in four games last season.
This was Miami’s ninth consecutive series victory.
Miami began to take control midway through the third quarter shortly after James gave his teammates a scare when he drove to the basket and his right thigh collided with Bismack Biyombo’s knee, sending him to the ground.
James remained on the floor for more than a minute and concerned teammates began gathering around him. He eventually got up and hobbled to the bench and sat down during a timeout, but he stayed in the game.
The injury only seemed to inspire James after fans cheered when he went down.
After the timeout he buried a 3-pointer and a long jumper before a one-handed dunk to help give Miami a 73-66 lead with 4:51 left in the third quarter. Miami pushed the lead to 13 when Norris Cole knocked down a 3-point buzzer-beater from the right corner at the end of the quarter.
Charlotte never got closer than seven points in the fourth quarter.