(Sports Network) - The Miami Heat can take a stranglehold of the Eastern
Conference Finals Tuesday night with Game 4 against the Indiana Pacers on tap
from Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
The Heat took a 2-1 series lead with a sensational performance Sunday night in
Indianapolis. Miami, led by a playoff franchise-record 70 points in the first
half, triumphed 114-96.
"The playoffs are hard. If you're up or down, you have to win four games,"
LeBron James said after practice on Sunday. "We understand that, so we look
forward to the opportunity, having another game where we can win, take a
commanding lead. So we look forward to it tomorrow night."
Sunday's game not only shifted the series advantage toward Miami, it ended one
streak and continued another.
That victory pushed the Heat to 5-0 on the road in the postseason. That mark
is impressive on its own, but all five wins came by double-digit margins.
"We love to just come in and try to take a game from a team on their home
floor. We love it," said James. "We love feeling like it's just us by
ourselves and against everyone else."
The loss was Indiana's first at home during the postseason, sending the Pacers
to 6-1. It also marked the first time the Pacers trailed in any series during
"We saw what Miami looked like with their backs against the wall in coming
here, having lost home-court advantage," Pacers coach Frank Vogel said Monday.
"Now it's our turn to come out and show what we look like with our backs
against the wall."
Aside from the Heat's 70-point, first-half outburst, Miami was brilliant in
almost all facets of the game on Sunday. The Heat shot 54.5 percent from the
field, committed only five turnovers and held the Pacers under 40 percent from
James paced the Heat with 22 points, followed by 18 from Dwyane Wade and an
unexpected 17 from Udonis Haslem. He shot 8-for-9 from the field and had seven
Chris Bosh and Mario Chalmers both scored in double figures.
The Pacers got a big effort from their big men in Game 3. Roy Hibbert had 20
points and 17 rebounds, while David West scored 21 points and pulled down 10
George Hill netted 19, but it was an off night for All-Star and Most Improved
Player, Paul George. He managed 13 points on 3-for-10 shooting, but did hand
out eight assists.
"He didn't have a great shooting night and they were more dialed in to making
him the focal point of their defensive plan. So I think you have to credit
their defense," Vogel said of the Heat's plan. "Thirteen points and eight
assists is about 30 points worth of production, similar to what LeBron put up,
22 points and three assists. So I thought it was a pretty even battle."
Game 5 will be Thursday night back in Miami.
The Sports Network