Tuesday, May 28th, 2013 at 8:30 PM EDT at Bankers Life Fieldhouse
Game Preview: IND vs MIA, Game 4
Scott Agness | May 27, 2013
For the second time this series, the Pacers will try to rebound from a loss and prevent the defending champion Miami Heat from taking a commanding lead in this Eastern Conference Finals matchup.
Sometimes, the opponent plays so well that you just have to tip your cap. That’s what it was like Sunday evening, when the Heat scored 70 first-half points, a franchise playoff record for a half, and cruised to a 114-96 victory. Miami has won all five of their road games in these playoffs by double-digits. The first two games of this series – both in Miami – were decided by one and four points, respectively.
The Heat made adjustments in Game 3, sprinting down and spacing the floor on offense. From there they were dangerous, forcing the Pacers to pick their poison among five different weapons. Udonis Haslem connected on eight of his nine shots and was the X-factor according to Roy Hibbert, who had the responsibility of defending him. The Heat’s spacing made Hibbert pick and choose where he guarded and helped, leaving the defense inevitably vulnerable somewhere, and the Heat took advantage of the weak spot. Offensively, Hibbert led the Pacers with 20 points and 17 rebounds, the latter of which tied a career-high.
The most interesting head-to-head matchup is at the wing spot, which pits the NBA’s Most Improved Player in Paul George against LeBron James, the league MVP and best player in the world. James also made a few changes to his strategy in Game 3. He worked more inside on the low block, going one-on-one with George, and finishing with his left hand. James is averaging almost 30 points per game in this series.
After losing in Game 1 on James’ layup at the buzzer, the Pacers asserted themselves early in Game 2 and came away with a big road win, led by 29 points from Hibbert and 22 from George. The Heat, however, have now regained home court advantage, which they worked so hard for during the regular season.
By now, these two teams know each other extremely well, from their system to their play calls and individual tendencies. Moving forward in this best-of-seven series, in which Miami holds a 2-1 advantage, adjustments are as critical as they are certain.
“Champs made adjustments,” 23-year-old Paul George tweeted after Game 3. “Our turn! A joy to play this game.”
Pacers coach Frank Vogel, a self-proclaimed workaholic, got his start in this league in the film room. He, along with his coaching staff that complements each other so well, will have to find ways to counter the Heat’s efficiencies and likely add new wrinkles of their own.
The Pacers want to go on the attack in the early moments of the game and make the Heat uncomfortable. They need to force more turnovers – the Heat only had five in Game 3 – and keep a hand in the face of all shooters. Additionally, the Pacers need to prevent a role player on Miami from going off. In Game 1 it was Chris Andersen. In Game 3, Haslem stood out above the rest.
Just like the Pacers didn’t get too high from their Game 2 win, they’re not going to tear themselves apart after Sunday’s loss. They remain a confident, together group that continues to believe they not only should win another game, but that they can win the series.
Pacers: Danny Granger (out for the season, left knee)
“We’ll make some adjustments and we’ll play better. But we understand we’ve got to play our best … then believe that when we play our best, we can beat them.” – Frank Vogel
“Our whole approach since I’ve been here is find ways to instill confidence and belief, and today’s no different than any day that we’ve had the last couple of years. We’re going to emphasize the positive, we’re going to show reasons to believe that what they got, they’re not going to get in the next game and come in with confidence in Game 4.” – Frank Vogel
“It’s us playing with our backs against the wall. We got to come out and feel that way. It’s a must-win for us.” – Paul George on Game 4
“We just have to do what we’ve done, better. We just didn’t do our jobs good enough [Sunday] to beat the champs.” – David West
“We felt we settled way too much in Game 2. Our offensive efficiency, particularly going down the stretch, hurt us and cost us a game. We wanted to get to our game. We’re an aggressive, attacking team that needs to get into the paint, get to the free throw line, get to the rim and we do it in a myriad of different ways.” – Heat coach Erik Spoelstra
“It's the adversity, the opponents' fans. We love to come in here and try to take a game from a team on the home floor. We love feeling like it's just us by ourselves against everyone else.” – LeBron James explains the Heat’s success on the road
- Miami is undefeated on the road in the playoffs (5-0), and has won 23 of their last 24 away from home.
- This series, Roy Hibbert is shooting 51 percent and averaging 22.7 points and 12 rebounds per game.
- Heat big man Chris “Birdman” Andersen has made all 13 of his field goal attempts in this series.
- In a best-of-seven playoff series that’s tied at one game apiece, the winner of Game 3 has gone on to with the series 77 percent of the time (151-45). Last year's second round series was one of the exceptions, as the Heat dropped Game 3 in Indianapolis but won the series.
- Every fan at Game 4 will receive a Gold Swagger t-shirt, with a different design than the first two given away.
May 26: Miami came out aggressive and played arguably their best game of these playoffs. They tallied a franchise record 70 first-half points and ended the night with a 114, as they leveled the Pacers 114-96 to take a 2-1 series lead, as well as home court advantage. Udonis Haslem knocked down 8-of-9 shots and finished with 17 points. LeBron James had his way with Paul George in the post, one of a few adjustments made by the Heat. James had 22 to lead all scorers.
The Pacers trailed by 14 points at half and got to within seven twice midway through the third quarter. The Heat finished the quarter strong and held on to their double-digit lead the rest of the way. Roy Hibbert had 20 points (12 scored at the foul line) and 17 rebounds. Miami had just five turnovers, and outscored Indiana in the paint 52-36.
Broadcast Information | Find Local Listings
TV: TNT – Marv Albert (play-by-play), Reggie Miller (analyst), Steve Kerr (analyst), Craig Sager (reporter), David Aldridge (reporter)
Radio: FM 107.5/AM 1070 The Fan, Pacers Radio Network - Mark Boyle (play-by-play), Austin Croshere (analyst), Michael Grady (host)
Note: The Pacers TV crew of Chris Denari, Quinn Buckner, Austin Croshere and Brooke Olzendam will have a 30-minute postgame show on FOX Sports Indiana immediately following the game./>/>
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