The Pacers won 99-92 and tied the series behind their leader, Roy Hibbert. Dirk Nowitzki of Dallas in the 2011 NBA Finals, and now Hibbert, both have three straight playoff games of 20-point and 10 rebound games against the Heat’s big three (James/Wade/Bosh). Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh combined for 14-39 for just 35FG% .
Referee Joey Crawford called a 24 second violation in the fourth quarter on the Pacers which was a big missed call that gave the Heat a serious run. It appeared quite clear that Hibbert’s shot hit the rim.
LeBron James got his 6th foul with under a minute to play by setting an illegal screen. The referee balanced the call by not giving James his superstar treatment.
Like mentioned before, Hibbert is a huge factor in protecting the paint. James has just five points on drives with Hibbert on the court, compared to 11 points with Hibbert off the court in this series.
Pacers’ Lance Stephenson also had a huge game with 20 points. Stephenson had a coast-to-coast lay up and went right at James and got him to foul. If he can play aggressive like that during the next games of the series in Miami, it will give the Heat problems.
Injuries to the Heat’s Big 3?
Chris Bosh turned his ankle in the second half. He went to the locker room and came back, but Could this be a problem for game 5? Bosh has been getting out-muscled on the rebound end.
Dwyane Wade limped during the first half, as he has been dealing with a knee injury throughout the playoffs. LeBron James is going need them to succeed.
The Heat bench was missing Ray Allen; 4-13, 11 points, the only player that was productive- points-wise. It took Allen 13 shots to get to 11 points. Chris Anderson the bench star of game 3 but he had zero shots in 19 minutes. Shane Battier hasn’t found his stroke, and whatever happened to Norris Cole, who had great games in the Bulls series?
What is happening may be the Pacers stout defense.
Starting Five Match-up Results:
Heat- James 8-18, 24 points vs. Pacers- George 4-10, 12 points
Heat- Wade 5-15, 16 points vs. Pacers- Stephenson 9-15, 20 points
Heat- Bosh 1-6, 7 points vs. Pacers- Hibbert 10-16, 23 points
Heat- Chalmers 6-14, 20 points vs. Pacers- Hill 4-13, 19 points
Heat- Haslem 3-5, 6 points vs. Pacers- West 5-11, 14 points
When the Pacers’ starting five all have double digits in scoring, they win, as they are a balanced offensive team. The Heats’ Chalmers stepped up big, and without him, it could have gotten ugly. Bosh only producing seven points is terrible for a max player.
Playoffs series are high and low. Right now, the Heat are on low, but understand the Heat have home advantage with two games left in South Beach. Game 5, the pressure will be on the Heat because of Game 6 on the road. The Heat doesn’t want a must game on the road, and I expect the Heat to come out on fire in Game 5 with the season on the line.
If the Pacers can steal another game in South Beach, they will have an advantage with home court in Game 6.
Either way, tonight’s Game 5 will be huge for both teams.