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This Hour: Latest North Carolina sports

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BOBCATS-HEAT

Heat looking to improve in Game 2 vs. Bobcats

MIAMI (AP) - LeBron James says Game 1 of a series is a feeling-out game, and Game 2 is where improvement happens.

That's what he expects from the Miami Heat on Wednesday night.

Miami took the opener of an Eastern Conference first-round series from Charlotte on Sunday, a game where the Bobcats saw Al Jefferson limp around for the final three quarters because of an ailing left foot.

Jefferson's availability remains in question, although he insists he'll play. In any case, the Heat say they're more worried about their own game.

Heat point guard Mario Chalmers missed practice Tuesday with a bruised shin, an injury from Game 1.

PANTHERS-BACK TO WORK

Newton 'surprised' WR Steve Smith released

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) - Cam Newton says he was surprised the Panthers released veteran wide receiver Steve Smith this offseason.

Newton says "if you were in the 704 (area code), you were caught by surprise. Everybody in the Carolinas was surprised, including myself."

Newton spoke Tuesday at team headquarters during a break from offseason condition workouts, which began Monday.

Along with Smith, the Panthers also lost Brandon LaFell, Ted Gin Jr. and Domenik Hixon via free agency, meaning Newton will be without his top four receivers from last season.

Newton isn't concerned about developing chemistry with his new group of receivers, even though he'll be out until at least June following ankle surgery.

Newton says the changes mean he needs to "take more ownership of the offense."

RALLYCROSS-PIQUET JR

Piquet Jr. to run Global Rallycross with SH Racing

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) - Nelson Piquet Jr. will compete in the upcoming Global Rallycross season with new entrant SH Racing.

Piquet spent almost two full seasons in Formula One before moving to NASCAR in 2010.

SH Racing is owned by James Sullivan, a partner in IndyCar Series team KVSH Racing. The IndyCar team won the Indianapolis 500 last season with Tony Kanaan.

SH Racing was formed in 2010 initially competing in motocross, but first tried Global Rallycross in the 2013 X Games with driver Scott Speed.

The team will run the full season this year with Piquet driving the No. 07 Ford Fiesta ST. The car will be sponsored by N.O.-XPLODE in six of the 10 events, including the X Games in Austin, Texas.

NFL DRAFT PROSPECTS

30 top prospects to attend NFL draft in New York

NEW YORK (AP) - The NFL says 30 top prospects, including Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel and South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, will attend the draft next month in New York.

Among other players scheduled to appear at Radio City Music Hall include Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, Clemson wide receiver Sammy Watkins and Buffalo linebacker Khalil Mack.

The prospects are expected to be selected in the first three rounds.

The first round will be Thursday, May 8, with rounds 2-3 the next day.

CLEMSON-McDANIELS

Clemson's McDaniels leaving for NBA

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - K.J. McDaniels is leaving Clemson for the NBA draft.

The high-flying junior announced his decision through the school Tuesday. He had until April 27 to enter the draft.

In several NBA mock drafts, the 6-foot-6 forward is projected as a middle-to-late selection in the first round.

McDaniels was Clemson's unquestioned star this season. He averaged 17.1 points and seven rebounds and helped the Tigers reach the NIT semifinals.

He led the team in points, rebounds, blocks and steals. He was the Atlantic Coast Conference defensive player of the year and earned a spot on the league's first team as voted on by ACC media.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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