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NBA Playoffs: Pacers Crawl Back Into Series, Even East Finals At 2

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May 28, 2013; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indiana Pacers small forward Paul George (24) drives to the basket and is defended by Miami Heat small forward LeBron James (6) in game four of the Eastern Conference finals of the 2013 NBA Playoffs at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Indiana won 99-92. Mandatory Credit: Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports

Indiana Pacers 99 Miami Heat 92

 How Indiana Won: The Pacers came out and turned their effort and hustle around 180 degrees from their game 3 performance.  They continuously attacked the basket, dove for loose balls, and dominated on the boards.  Indiana started the game on an 11-0 run, and used the energy of the home crowd to carry them to victory.

 Roy Hibbert lead the way with 23 points and 12 rebounds, and Lance Stephenson added 20 points.  But the story for Indiana was their ability to get back to their winning formula.  They gained the edge in rebounds, 49-30, and outscored the Heat 50-32 in the paint, and contained Lebron James as a team.

 Paul George struggled offensively for the second straight game, scoring 12 points on 4 for 10 shooting.  He grabbed 8 rebounds, but was in foul trouble in the middle stages of the game.  Head coach Frank Vogel decided to use Stephenson and Sam Young to defend Lebron, and they did a solid job containing him in the low post.  David West added 14 points and 12 rebounds, and George Hill finished with 19 points and 6 assists.

Indiana finished the last five minutes of the game strong.  They held held a 81-72 lead in the fourth quarter, but a 14-2 run by the Heat sucked the energy out of Bankers Life Fieldhouse.  The Pacers would answer furiously: George immediately tied the game on a three-point play, Stephenson made a jumper, and Hibbert converted on a three-point play with 1:30 remaining to spark a quick 7-0 run for the Pacers that helped extend their lead to 5.

 How Miami Lost: The Heat just didn’t look like the same team that played near-flawless on Sunday night.  They missed assignments on defense, and the Big Three may have played their worst playoff game in the James-Dwayne WadeChris Bosh era.

The Three shot a dismal 14 for 39 from the field, and team shot 30 for 77(39 percent) for the game. Bosh and Wade limped noticeably throughout the game; Bosh was seen clutching his right knee after a collision in the first half, and limped to the locker room.  James finished with 24 points, but was just 8 for 18 shooting, while Wade finished with 16 and Bosh scored just 7 points.  No Miami starter had more than 6 rebounds.  Mario Chalmers was the most efficient starter, scoring 20 points on 6 of 14 shooting.

The supporting cast, who had played so well in game 3, looked the same from the first two games.  Ray Allen was the only player off the bench to score in double figures, 11, but shot just 4 for 13.  Chris Andersen played 19 minutes but didn’t attempt a shot and grabbed 2 rebounds, while Udonis Haslem scored just 6 points.

In the final five minutes, Miami shot 1 for 9, and was outrebounded in the fourth quarter, 17-8.  James was called for four fouls in the final period, and fouled out when he was called for an offensive foul with a minute remaining.

 It Was Over When: The Heat were down 96-92 when James fouled out, and had the ball with 30 seconds remaining.  Looking for a quick three, Wade dribbled in from the left wing, stepped back to set up for a three-pointer, but was called for a travel. George split a pair of free throws to stretch the lead to 5, and a Ray Allen miss on the ensuing possession sealed the win for the Pacers.

 Quote of the Night: “I just felt the guys showed a lot of fight. We’ve got a group of guys on this team that are full of heart. A tough group, willing to step up to the challenge. We knew this was a make-or-break game for us.” –David West

Box Score:

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