Miami managed to tie the series in Indiana, and will take on the Pacers at home tonight. By winning game 4, Miami reclaimed home-court advantage, and will attempt to defend it tonight, fueled by the Miami home crowd.
Game 4 was the most important game of the series, a must win, a psychological get-it-done-or-go-home-type of a game. James and Wade combined for an astonishing 70 points to knock out the Pacers.
Following his recent struggles, Wade started off the game shooting 1-8, and it was painful to watch Wade come up short time and time again. At the end of the first half, and especially in the 3rd quarter, all of that changed. LeBron James set Wade up with a couple of amazing passes, that Wade converted into easy layups and dunks. Fueled by the easy baskets, Wade seemingly regained his confidence and finished the game hitting 12 of his 15 shots. James recorded a historical stat-line with 40 points 18 rebounds and 9 assists, becoming the first player to record that kind of a stat-line in a playoff game since Elgin Baylor in 1961.
Keys to the game
It has now become a 3-game series, and a victory today would put Miami in firm control of the series. It will not be easy by any means. So let’s take a look at what Miami have done in their two wins so far. In both games, James and Wade scored at will and were extremely aggressive. The relentless aggression forced Indiana’s bigs, Roy Hibbert and David West, into foul trouble. Roy Hibbert missed a good chunk of the 3rd quarter, as well as sitting out half of the 4th in game 4. This allowed James and Wade to take it to the basket, scoring easy points. Roy Hibbert is the anchor of Indiana’s defence, but due to foul trouble only played 31 minutes, and when he is off the floor Miami’s stars can score with significantly greater efficiency. Getting the Indiana bigs into foul trouble will be key.
Rebounding has also been an important category in the series. In game 4, Miami won the rebounding battle by 9, grabbing an impressive 14 offensive rebounds. James, who started at the 4 spot last game, has to pick up the slack with Chris Bosh out. He had an impressive 18 rebounds, and has to continue crashing the boards.
Udonis Haslem stepped up in game 4, doing his best Chris Bosh impersonation and knocking down several mid-range jumpers. Haslem scored 14 points on 5-6 shooting. The bottom line is that someone has to step up and help out Wade and James in the absence of Bosh. Mario Chalmers had a strong outing in game 3, Haslem in game 4, and Joel Anthony has also been solid. Mike Miller looked to be in a lot of pain in game 4, and if he would not play in game 5 it would be quite a blow to Miami’s already thin bench.
Starting the game out strong will be extremely important. Miami started game 4 really slow, but fortunately, as Miami were struggling, Indiana shot 11 three-point shots in the first quarter, missing the majority.
At the end of the day LeBron James and Dwyane Wade are going to have to step up once more. To be able to hold off the Pacers, Wade and James will both have to come up big. Neither James nor Wade can win the game on their own, but if they both complement each other, they are virtually impossible to stop.