Miami Heat are in contention for winning their third straight title this season after their 99-88 victory against the Charlotte Bobcats on Sunday.

With game one of the first round at the American Airlines Arena, the pressure was on Erik Spoelstra's side to start the play-offs on the forward foot, but the hosts got off to a poor start losing the first quarter 23-19 to the Bobcats.

Al Jefferson scored eight points for the visitors with Gary Neal adding six in four minutes. LeBron James featured the whole 12 minutes for Heat scoring six, while Dwayne Wade added six for the hosts.

Spoelstra stated to ESPN after the game it was a poor start from his team who he believed to be a bit over-excited.

He said: "We were flat to start. I think our guys were just anxious."

Heat then turned up in the second with a strong response winning the quarter 30-19; James, Wade, Chris Bosh and Norris Cole all sharing the points for the current champions.

The Heat players really put in a team performance in the second, as going into half-time Spoelstra's men were leading 49-42.

Charlotte wanted to respond with some initiative, but the third ended in a tie at 23-23; Kemba Walker scoring eight for the Bobcats, while James added another eight to the board for Heat.

The hosts still were holding a comfortable lead as the fourth approached, as James had 20 points to his name and Spoelstra's men led 72-63 with 12 minutes to go in Game 1, and the Heat done their usual steps and cruised to the win.

Winning the quarter 27-23 Heat showed their strength in depth, however Steve Clifford's men aimed to not go down without a fight as Josh McRoberts hit seven for the visitors, while Kemba Walker and Gary Neal added six each.

But it was the big three for Heat who saw home to win; Bosh scored six with James and Wade both scoring seven.

After the game point guard Walker stated to ESPN that the Bobcats just need to be sharper with their final product.

He said: "We did some really good things today. We just have to keep executing throughout the game. We can't get rattled."

Steve Clifford's side have to take on Heat once more at the American Airlines Arena before taking them back to Charlotte, however the Bobcats haven't beaten Heat in the last four seasons.

Heat meanwhile will be looking towards a semi-final place after the remaining six games, as either side will have to take on the Toronto Raptors or the Brooklyn Nets next.

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