After a much shorter layoff then between Games 2 and 3, the Miami HEAT and Indiana Pacers will continue their battle for Eastern Conference supremacy tonight at 8:30 at the AmericanAirlines Arena.
Miami bounced back in Game 2 by winning 87-83 and at home for Game 3 with the blowout 99-87 victory and have "stolen home court", but it goes right back to Indiana should the visitors win and tie the series 2-2. Miami has yet to lose a home game this postseason (6-0), though Indiana has oddly gone 5-2 on the road, but just 4-5 at home. Game 3's loss snapped a 5-game win streak on the road for the Pacers this postseason.
The story of Game 3 was the 4th quarter play of the legendary Ray Allen, who nailed down 4 three-pointers to turn what was a close game into a blowout. Of course, LeBron James and Dwyane Wade had something to do with that as well. While consistent excellence from the King can be counted on in the postseason, the resurgence of Wade (even knocking down a pair of threes in the second half!) is what has made the Heat so dangerous. Now if only Chris Bosh can join in on the fun and the Heat could be unbeatable.
December 10th - Pacers 90, HEAT 84
This day in HEATstory
Probable Starting Lineups
|PG - Mario Chalmers||7.5||2.3||3.8||0.9||0.3|
|PF - Udonis Haslem||2.3||3.3||0.4||0.1||0.2|
|C - Chris Bosh||13.2||5.2||1.1||0.8||1.3|
|SF - LeBron James||28.6||7.2||5.0||2.0||0.6|
|SG - Dwyane Wade||19.5||3.5||4.1||1.3||0.4|
|PG - George Hill||12.3||3.5||3.1||1.2||0.3|
|PF - David West||14.5||6.4||4.3||0.8||0.9|
|C - Roy Hibbert||9.9||5.2||0.7||0.2||1.4|
|SF - Paul George||21.3||7.8||4.1||2.0||0.4|
|SG - Lance Stephenson||14.2||7.3||4.4||0.9||0.3|
What To Watch For
Don't think I've left out Roy Hibbert. It's safe to say the big man is back to terrorizing Miami. Though it hasn't been as stark as last postseason, Hibbert has averaged 15.6 points through three games in the series and had 22 rebounds through the first two games against Miami's front court but only managed a pitiful 2 boards in Game 3. He hasn't shot particularly well however, so it would be wise to continue to have Udonis Haslem guard him while Chris Bosh guards the burly David West.
Lastly, while Bosh's production is well below his norms, many must note the sacrifice he has been making. Bosh has the unenviable task of keeping West and Hibbert off the boards, making sure someone else secures them (similar to what Hibbert actually does when people incorrectly bemoan his low rebounding totals), as well as camping out beyond the arc in order to give LeBron and Wade the space they need to operate. It can be frustrating to watch him struggle and he can surely do better in some regards, but expect some reasonably better games from Bosh in the future and if Miami triumphs in the Eastern Conference, it should allow Bosh to return to a more traditional role, whether it is against Oklahoma City or San Antonio as Bosh has produced well against both squads the past two NBA Finals.
On another note, for those of you who plan to attend Game 4 or know someone who will, PLEASE READ THE FOLLOWING. Roy Hibbert has had major struggles through the postseason. Whether coincidence or not, Hibbert's play turned around the same day Indiana let go of center Andrew Bynum, another fabled piece that supposedly would've put Indiana's bench over the top. So when Roy Hibbert is at the foul line tonight, please chant the following:
AN-DREW BY-NUM *CLAP CLAP CLAPCLAPCLAP.* AN-DREW BY-NUM *CLAP CLAP CLAPCLAPCLAP.*
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