HHH GameTime Preview: Game 4, Miami HEAT Vs. Indiana Pacers

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The HEAT will go for the commanding 3-1 series lead vs Indiana after taking care of business in Game 3.

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.

Season Series

December 10thPacers 90, HEAT 84

December 18th - HEAT 97, Pacers 94

March 26th - Pacers 84, HEAT 83

April 11th - HEAT 98, Pacers 86

May 18th - Pacers 107, HEAT 96

May 20th - Pacers 83, HEAT 87

May 24th - HEAT 99, Pacers 87

This day in HEATstory

The Miami Heat finished off the Chicago Bulls on the road in the 2011 Eastern Conference Semifinals with a tight 83-80 victory to close the series out 4-1 and advance to their NBA Finals in the Big 3 era. Though the Dallas Mavericks won the series, the lessons learned in their only playoff series loss with LeBron James and Chris Bosh would prove to be beneficial in their current 3-Peat bid.

Probable Starting Lineups

Miami HEAT
Position/Player PPG RPG APG SPG BPG
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

Indiana Pacers
Position/Player PPG RPG APG SPG BPG
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

For Miami, they must avoid another slow start because their first quarter in Game 3 was the stuff of nightmares for the coaching staff. However, the Indiana Pacers starting 5 is really good. Unfortunately, their bench isn't. Vogel played 4 of his 5 starters over 39 minutes in Game 2 because of how poorly his bench had been, but they did collectively bounce back in Game 3 with 23 points including decent performances from Luis Scola, C.J. Watson and Rasual Butler. Notice we didn't mention Evan Turner, who went scoreless in four minutes. (Maybe Larry Bird should have just stuck with Danny Granger, but the Heat are just fine with the decision.)

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.*

Spread the word on our little head game and make sure to keep your browser bookmarked right here for all of your HEAT news and updates. For the Indiana take on events, check out Indy Cornrows.

Additional reporting by Surya Fernandez

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