Eastern Conference Finals Game Four – Miami Heat 102 – Pacers 90
After dropping Game One of the Eastern Conference Finals, the Miami Heat have now reeled off three wins in a row and are just one win away from a third straight NBA Championship series.
In their 102-90 win, it was Chris Bosh who came up huge and helped with major contributions for the Heat. Bosh has been the quietest member of the Big Three for Miami, but he contributed 25 points in Game Four. As usual, LeBron James led the way with 32 points and 10 rebounds. James also had 5 assists, which was his 74th game with at least 25 points, 10 rebounds and 5 assists. The only other person in NBA history to come close to that mark was Michael Jordan, who had 73 games with that stat line.
Miami outscored Indiana in the first quarter, 27-19. And while the Pacers closed the gap with a 25-22 second quarter, James would then come out in the second half and score five quick points in a Heat 7-0 run. The Pacers kept trying to even things out throughout the game. However, the Heat were just too hot and the 12-point victory covered the initial spread before the game.
The Pacers had success in the first two games with the use of Roy Hibbert inside. However, Hibbert returned to the ineffective player that we’ve seen too often lately, failing to tally any points and grabbing just 5 rebounds. In Game One, the Pacers outscored the Heat by 19 with Hibbert on the court. However, in the last three games the Heat have found a way to get past Hibbert, outscoring the Pacers by 41 points when he is on the court.
The Pacers were led by Paul George with 23 points and David West had 20. Lance Stephenson, who called out LeBron James before the game, had 9 points on just 3-7 shooting and he also had 2 turnovers and 5 personal fouls.
Game Five now shifts back to Indiana, where the Pacers will need to utilize their home-court advantage if they hope to extend this series. However, the Heat are tied with the Spurs with the best odds to win the NBA Championship at 23/20. The Pacers are the least likely of the four remaining teams to win it all, sitting at 25/1 odds. Sportspicks.com handicappers will have insight into Game Five before it tips off in Indiana on Wednesday night.
The Pacers have shown that they can win in elimination games, which they did twice in the first Conference Quarterfinals against Atlanta. However, if they have any chance of advancing past the Conference Finals, they’ll now need to win three in a row against the defending champions. The good news is that they’ll have two games at home. The bad news is that LeBron James has been on a complete tear lately and they’ll need to find a way to slow him down.