While the Pacers do what they do, start the same lineup every night and stick largely to the same basic rotations, Miami has started three different lineups in three games and most likely will try a fourth on Sunday. Coach Erik Spoelstra pulled one out of his hat in Game 3, starting Dexter Pittman -- who hadn't made a postseason appearance in his brief career -- and elevating Shane Battier to the small forward spot while shifting LeBron James to power forward. The move failed on every level as Pittman lasted just 3½ minutes, Battier missed all seven of his shots (six from the 3-point line) and James had his least effective game of the series with 22 points, needing 22 shots to get them.
There's no telling what Spoelstra might try next but he needs to find a way to get Dwyane Wade untracked if Miami is to extend this series. Wade was 2-of-13 in Game 3 and has shot 31 percent for the series. Whether troubled by Paul George's length and athleticism, banged up or simply slumping, Wade has not delivered for the Heat while James (27.3 points, 10.3 rebounds, 4.3 assists, 3.3 steals) has been consistently productive. Mario Chalmers broke through to score 25 in Game 3 but the Pacers are perfectly willing to let Chalmers put up more shots (15) than Wade. Miami also has struggled mightily from the 3-point line, shooting 5 of 42 (.119) for the series.
As they did against the Magic in the first round, the Pacers are riding the broad shoulders of big men David West (15.7 points, 10.3 rebounds) and Roy Hibbert (14.7 points, 13.3 rebounds, 3.0 blocked shots). Hibbert has pulled double-figures rebounds in seven of eight postseason games and has four double-doubles. Danny Granger finally found some offensive rhythm in Game 3, scoring 17, but still is shooting just 31 percent for the series. In its two wins, Indiana has played sterling defense, limiting Miami to 36 percent shooting and 75 points in each, while controlling the boards 102-76.
After dominating the third quarter against Orlando (outscoring the Magic by 43) in the first round, the Pacers have continued that trend against the Heat. In their two wins, the Pacers outscored Miami 52-26 in the third period as the Heat shot 7 of 34 (.206) and committed eight turnovers. James and Wade have combined to shoot 4-of-18 and score 14 points in the period. In Game 2, the Pacers used a 20-4 run to build a 61-50 lead. In Game 3, they put together a 19-3 run for a 64-50 lead.
"In any playoff series, momentum shifts dramatically every single game so as much as you want to enjoy the victory you can't enjoy the victory in the playoffs. You have to get ready for the next game and understand it's a different series if we don't get Game 4. We definitely feel like we can win this series. We felt that coming into the series and obviously with them being undermanned with Bosh out we feel even stronger about it. But how we feel is irrelevant. We have to get the job done between the lines." – Pacers Coach Frank Vogel
"It’s a must-win, honestly. We have to watch things we can get better at. But we have to play too. We can watch all the film in the world, and we still have to go out and play." – LeBron James
For the Pacers, none are reported. For the Heat, Chris Bosh (abdominal strain) is out indefinitely.
The 3:30 PM game will be telecast on ABC. The radio broadcast will air on WIBC 93 FM, featuring Mark Boyle and Bobby "Slick" Leonard. Immediately after the game, turn to Fox Sports Indiana for an expanded live postgame show hosted by Chris Denari and Brooke Olzendam.
Game Day Extra
Join in Pacers Playoff activities before Game 4 this Sunday from 1:00 – 3:00 pm in the Parking Lot North of Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Pennsylvania Street. Come and enjoy live music and entertainment, Pacers giveaways and sign the “Beat the Heat” banner for the team. This event is brought to you by FSIndiana.
The Pacers host the Miami Heat in Game 4 (Round 2, Home Game 2) on Sunday, May 20, at 3:30 PM (Tickets »)
Want to guarantee Playoff tickets for all rounds through the NBA Finals? Place a deposit on a 2012-13 Full, Half or 11-Game Season Ticket Plan and secure tickets to the 2012 Playoffs. Call (317) 917-2827 or visit PacersMVP.com for more information.