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Last Update on April 18, 2014 09:51 GMT


MIAMI (AP) -- It would be misleading to say the Miami Heat didn't care about the regular season.

Then again, it was clear from the outset that the Heat goals for this season focused on the playoffs, which cannot come as any surprise.

They're bidding for a third straight championship, something only three franchises have done.

They're looking for a fourth straight trip to the NBA Finals, something only the Celtics and Lakers have accomplished.

Regardless of what happens in the playoffs, the Heat know that their 54-28 regular season will soon be forgotten. For a team chasing history, it's all about the now, and after spending nearly seven months fighting through the process, the postseason is finally here.


CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) -- The Charlotte Bobcats will have to figure out a way to stop LeBron James if they hope to win their first playoff game in franchise history.

That's something they've not yet been able to figure out.

The Heat are 15-0 against the Bobcats since James signed with a Miami 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 games this season against the Bobcats, buoyed by a career-high 61 points on March 3.

Bobcats guard Gerald Henderson called James the "best player in the world" and says it will take a total team effort for the Bobcats to win.


ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) -- The Magic trudged through another tough season that in many ways mirrored their first under general manager Rob Hennigan and coach Jacque Vaughn.

But Hennigan says that despite the team's 23-59 record, he saw overall improvement for a team that could be heading into the most pivotal offseason of its current rebuilding process.

Orlando enters the summer with a pair of lottery picks in June's draft, and lots of flexibility to add some roster pieces around rookie guard Victor Oladipo and big man Nik Vucevic if it wants to use it.

There are some questions, though.

The biggest might be what they will do with veteran point guard Jameer Nelson. A 10-year veteran, Nelson is the team's longest-tenured player. But he is entering the final year of a partially-guaranteed contract.


TAMPA, Fla. (AP) -- Carey Price concedes that failing to protect a pair of third-period leads is not a formula for success in the NHL playoffs.

The Montreal Canadiens won the opening game of their series against Tampa Bay without a stellar performance from one of the league's top goaltenders, and they know they will have to be much better defensively the rest of the way against the Lightning.

Price shared the NHL's third-best save percentage during the regular season, and then allowed four goals in Tampa Bay's first 14 shots in Game 1. The Canadiens still managed to take a 1-0 lead in the best-of-seven series, with unlikely offensive hero Dale Weise scoring his first career playoff goal for a 5-4 overtime win on Wednesday.

Game 2 is Friday night.


JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) -- The Jacksonville Jaguars have released veteran linebacker Russell Allen after he failed a physical.

Allen started 29 games the last two seasons. He missed the final two games last year because of a concussion.

The team also released third-year defensive end D'Aundre Reed, second-year defensive end Will Pericak and first-year receiver Jabin Sambrano.

Allen was originally signed as an undrafted rookie on April 26, 2010. He played in 78 games with 44 starts over five seasons. He finished with 452 tackles, 25 tackles for loss, two sacks and two forced fumbles.

The Jaguars signed free agent linebacker Dekoda Watson last month, adding him to a positional mix that includes Paul Posluszny and Geno Hayes.

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