They were up 2-0 going in, but there was a sense there should be more.

Saturday night at Time Warner Cable Arena, there was more, the Miami Heat's most efficient effort of this opening-round NBA playoff series, a 98-85 victory over the Charlotte Bobcats that included a 26-point lead at one stage.

"We had our shortcomings in the first two games," center Chris Bosh said. "It came down to the wire in Game 2. That woke us up."

Actually, forward LeBron James woke them up. With seven points in the final 36.5 seconds of the second quarter to put the Miami Heat in command and with 30 overall, James pushed the Heat to a 3-0 lead in this best-of-seven series.

"It was just a very professional, locked-in approach," coach Erik Spoelstra said.

The only drama remaining? Will the Charlotte Bobcats ever win a playoff game.

No, really.

It's down to one game, Monday night's Game 4 here, with the Bobcats to be rebranded the Charlotte Hornets next season.

Falling to 0-7 all-time in the playoffs in their brief 10-year history, the Bobcats proved far less of a challenge on their home court than they did in a pair of mostly competitive losses in the series' first two games at AmericanAirlines Arena.

"We were locked in on what needed to be done," James said. "If we come out with the same mindset or greater on Monday, we give ourselves a great chance to win.

"The next important step is Game 4."

No NBA team has overcome an 0-3 deficit to win a best-of-seven series.

"You don't want the series to evolve more than it needs to," Spoelstra said. "You have to deal with so many challenges in the playoffs. You like to have this kind of challenge."

This time, Bobcats center Al Jefferson was basically limited to one solid quarter by his severely hobbled left foot, scoring 15 of his 20 points in the opening 12 minutes.

Spoelstra was not pleased with the ease of Jefferson's early scoring.

"Every catch was exactly where he wanted it," he said. "It was just too easy and we did not have a disposition. And then it changed.

"We were much more committed defensively."

Otherwise, there was little from the Bobcats, with the Heat getting contributions across the board, still without a Game 3 opening-round loss in the franchise's four seasons of Big Three play.