The Indiana Pacers leveled the series between themselves and the defending champion Miami Heat Tuesday. The Pacers made a statement that the coronation of Miami as repeat Eastern champions, and possibly adding a consecutive NBA Championship to their trophy case, may be more hype than substance.
The Pacers win on Tuesday night made a statement to Miami that they were far from just another step to a consecutive world championship.
Roy Hibbert had 23 points and 12 rebounds, Lance Stephenson added 20 points, and the Indiana Pacers charged back late to beat the Miami Heat 99-92 on Tuesday night and tie the Eastern Conference finals at 2-2.
Thursday night, game five will be in Miami. But the Pacers do not appear to be intimidated.
“We’re not going anywhere. We’re going back down to Miami to go out there and fight again,” Hibbert said.
LeBron James fouled out with 56 seconds left to play, and had 24 points.
The game was back and forth for three quarters, and into the fourth. Indiana was leading 81-72 early in the fourth, Miami answered with a 14-2 run that gave the Heat an 86-83 lead. When Paul George hit a three pointer, Indiana had closed the game on a 16-6 run.
Indiana’s defense was impenetrable, and allowed James only 8 of 18 from the field. The Pacers never appeared to be intimidated by the high scoring Heat.
The entire game became a fourth quarter event. Even as the Heat rallied in the fourth, charging back from an 81-72 deficit to take an 86-83 lead, the Pacers answered. George tied the score on a three-point play on which James committed his fourth foul.
Ray Allen appeared to place Miami in a position to win the game, but Indiana controlled the boards, producing a 7-0 run. Miami never tied the game again.
James, Wade, and Bosh, combined for 14 of 39 from the field. Indiana’s defense made a statement that may reverberate for the rest of the series. The Pacers had a 49-30 rebounding advantage and outscored Miami in the paint 50-32.
Both Wade and Bosh appeared to be injured, or at least somewhat disabled during the contest.
Meanwhile, the San Antonio Spurs are resting, awaiting the outcome of a surprisingly contested series.
The Guardian Express