NBA Playoffs 2012: Why Indiana Pacers Will Own a 3-1 Series Lead After Game 4
With a 2-1 series lead entering Game 4, the Indiana Pacers has exploited Miami in multiple ways and will continue to do so.
With Game 4 being possibly the most vital game of the series, Indiana will continue to find weakness in Miami and capitalize on their own strengths. After the game, the Pacers will control a comfortable 3-1 lead, and here is why.
Attacking the Weak Side
The Miami Heat have one of the toughest defenses in the playoffs in principal, solely because of how well they defend the strong side of the court. They use four players to flood the ball-side and defend great on the ball during pick and rolls and on post-ups.
The Indiana Pacers, however, have five players on the court at any given time who are very capable of scoring efficiently. This has allowed them to move the ball to the weak side, creating a rotation and putting pressure on the defense of Miami.
In Game 4, you will see much of the same. Indiana will continue to use pick and rolls while spreading the ball all over the court, causing the defense to shuffle and therefore creating open looks. The Pacers will remain disciplined with the ball, which is key to beat the Heat due to their strong transition play.
Points off Turnovers
These two teams met four times in the regular season. Miami won three of those games thanks to points off of turnovers.
In the three losses for Indiana, they averaged 18 turnovers per game amounting to 68 total points or 22.6 per game.
The Pacers have, through three games, done a fine job of limiting points off of their turnovers with good transition defense and disciplined offense.
In the three playoff games thus far, the Pacers have turned the ball over 16 times per game—not much of an improvement compared to the regular season, but it is the points they have not allowed Miami to score in transition that have given the Pacers the series lead. On the 16 turnovers per game, Miami has only scored 14.6 points.
Indiana will continue to limit these points off of turnovers in Game 4 by effectively swinging the ball around the perimeter and not forcing it into tougher situations. When Miami's transition game is limited, their offense becomes less powerful and allows the Pacers to control the tempo of the game.
With Chris Bosh out in Game 3, Roy Hibbert was unmatched.
Entering the series, Hibbert was the only player which the Heat did not match up well with. Whether it is Joel Anthony or Chris Bosh matching up against Hibbert, he still has the advantage in all aspects of the game—most importantly on the offensive glass.
With Bosh out, Hibbert saw mostly Joel Anthony in the middle and went off for 19 points, 18 rebounds and five blocks.
With Bosh out once again in Game 4, Hibbert will be a force in the paint. He will control the boards both offensively and defensively, run through inside pick and rolls on offense when not posting up and will be a defensive presence in the middle, limiting the driving abilities of Miami.
When Hibbert plays like he did in Game 3, which he will in Game 4, Miami will find it too tough to defeat the Pacers and their big man.
While many will state that Chris Bosh is only a small part of the Miami Heat, his importance cannot be downplayed after the first three games of the series.
In the first game, Miami was having trouble controlling the game, as they never led by more than two until the late in the game. Chris Bosh had 13 points before leaving the game late in the first half and seemed to be one of the more effective players.
Since the first game, Miami has played without Bosh. Indiana has exploited his absence and found success in the paint with Roy Hibbert and David West both recording convincing double-double performances in Games 2 and 3.
In Game 2, it was David West leading the team in scoring with 16 points and adding 10 rebounds. In Game 3, Hibbert was the monster for the Pacers scoring 19 and collecting 18 boards along with five blocks.
Game 4 can be either of these two controlling the game, but after Hibbert's tremendous performance, expect to see more of the same. Miami does not have an answer for the big man with Bosh injured, and he will power the Pacers to another win.
Strength in Options
If you haven't noticed, I have yet to mention Indiana's best player as a key why they will win Game 4. Danny Granger is a freakish athlete who led the Pacers in scoring this season, but his absence on this list shows just how deep this team is.
Indiana has the ability to take advantage of situations because they are so well rounded. Any player within their starting five has the talent to lead the team in scoring or take a game over.
We see this most evidently with Bosh out, as Roy Hibbert and David West lead the team in production throughout the second round of the playoffs. With Granger being covered by LeBron James and Paul George being handled by Dwyane Wade, the Pacers have found ways to still light up the scoreboard.
The depth in talent also helps Indiana spread the ball around the court, eliminated Miami's very tough strong-side defense as well as open things up on the inside for Hibbert and West.
With Bosh out in Game 4, Indiana will have too much to handle for Miami. Even with Wade and James, Miami will have trouble keeping up with the Pacers' offense, ultimately resulting in a 3-1 series lead for Indiana.