lebron james

LeBron James heard the cheers from the crowd as he lay on the court holding his right thigh and writhing in pain.

It only seemed to awaken the four-time league MVP.

James scored 19 of his game-high 31 points after sustaining a thigh bruise early in the third quarter, helping the Miami Heat earn a first-round sweep of the Charlotte Bobcats with a 109-98 victory Monday night. He finished Game 4 10 of 19 from the field and had nine assists.

“It’s definitely sore,” James said. “I’m fortunate we were able to close out tonight and I can give it a little rest.” …

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.

“If you take away the best offensive player from any team in the league it dramatically changes your team,” Bobcats coach Steve Clifford said.

Kemba Walker picked up the slack, playing tough throughout and finishing with 29 points on 11-of-15 shooting…

Charlotte never won a postseason game as the Bobcats in franchise history.

– Associated Press