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Bobcats fly back to Charlotte to avoid Miami distractions during Heat series

By Joseph Goodman
jgoodman@miamiherald.com

Knowing the distractions of Miami might be too much to ignore for a young team, Charlotte Bobcats coach Steve Clifford made the decision to fly his team back to North Carolina in between playoff games with the Heat.

“Let’s face it, if it were a city other than Miami we would have been more likely to stay a couple days,” Clifford said.

Clifford said he made the decision to fly his team back to Charlotte after consulting with Rod Higgins, the Bobcats’ president of basketball operations.

“It’s a playoff series,” Clifford said. “The priority is to do the things that give your team the best chance to play well. Everything between games has to be about getting ready for the next game.

“You have a better chance to have everyone’s focus and concentration at home.”

The Bobcats will practice in Charlotte on Tuesday before flying back to Miami for Wednesday’s Game 2. The Heat had the day off Monday, but will practice Tuesday morning at AmericanAirlines Arena.

The Heat defeated the Bobcats 99-88 on Sunday to take a 1-0 lead in the best-of-7 series. LeBron James and Dwyane Wade combined to score 50 points.

Bobcats center Al Jefferson injured his foot during Game 1, but is expected to continue playing in the series. Clifford said Monday during a conference call that Jefferson will not practice Tuesday and will continue wearing a protective boot. His official status is day-to-day.

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