The Miami Heat regained control of their Eastern Conference Semi-Final series on Sunday with their 101-93 win over the Indiana Pacers. The game began just as scary for Heat fans as the last two had gone, with Miami falling behind the Pacers 9-0. The Heat didn't score their first points of the game until the 7:41 mark of the 1st quarter when LeBron James said ‘enough of this' and scored on an emphatic dunk off a nice feed from Mario Chalmers.
That was just the beginning of an amazing game for LeBron, who finished with 40 points, 18 rebounds and 9 assists to go with 2 blocks and 2 steals. To put that in perspective, in the last twenty years nobody has had even a 30-point, 18 rebound, 9 assist game in the playoffs. James carried the Heat for most of the first half, until Dwyane Wade finally began to look like the D-Wade we all know and love.
Wade was fresh off of the worst playoff game in his career, a game in which he scored just 5 points on 2-of-13 shooting while matching his points with 5 turnovers. He missed his first 4 shots of Game 4, finally scoring his first points about 90 seconds into the 2nd quarter. He would go on to miss another 3 shots, and late in the opening half had a scary 2 points on 1-of-8 shooting.
That's when things began turning around for Wade. He'd hit a 3-pointer and a nice slam dunk in the last two minutes of the half, and then he and LeBron absolutely went off in the 3rd quarter. Including the last 2:30 of the 2nd quarter, Wade and LeBron would score all but 2 of the Heat's next 50 points, completely carrying the team to a solid 2nd half. It also helped that Wade hit 11 consecutive shots at one point.
There would be one other hero of this game for Miami, and it was a familiar face. The native Miamian, Udonis Haslem, looked like the UD of old in the final minutes of the game. He hit some huge shots; jumpers of 10, 12, 14 and 18 feet, to keep the Heat a safe distance ahead of the Pacers while they attempted to come back on Miami. Haslem finished with 14 points on 5-of-6 shooting and 4 rebounds, but the timeliness of his 4th quarter shots made his performance that much greater.
Now the Heat look ahead to Game 5, a game that will be played on their home court in what I'm sure will be an extremely loud and electric atmosphere at the AAA. That game will go a long way an deciding the winner of this series, as the victor will hold a very advantageous 3-2 series lead. A win for the Heat means they'll have two chances, including another home game (if necessary) to close out Indiana. A loss...well, lets not think that way.
- The Heat shot 41.7% from downtown, a far cry from their struggles of the rest of this series.
- As a team the Heat hit 47.5% of their field goals, though most of that credit goes to LeBron and Dwyane.
- Those two combined to shoot 27-of-50, scoring 70 points, grabbing 27 rebounds and dishing out 15 assists.
- LeBron accounted for 62 of Miami's 101 points, with his 9 assists leading to 22 points.
- Only 4 of those assists were on D-Wade buckets (including one 3-pointer). The other 5 assists went to Shane Battier (3-pointer), Mario Chalmers (two, both on 3-pointers), Joel Anthony and finally Udonis Haslem's biggest jumper, with 1:10 left to keep the Heat up by 7.
- Mario Chalmers was quietly productive, hitting 2-of-5 from downtown to go with his 8 points, 3 rebounds and 3 assists.
- Also having a quiet yet big impact was Joel Anthony, who played some great defense and also hit a pair of huge free throws late in the game. He finished with 4 points, 4 rebounds and 3 blocked shots.
- The Heat bench combined for 20 points, 12 boards, 2 assists, 3 steals and 3 blocks while turning the ball over just twice.
Next up for Miami is Game 5, which will be played at the AAA on Tuesday night. Tipoff will be at 8pm.