With the San Antonio Spurs wrapping up their Western Conference Finals series with the Memphis Grizzlies on Monday night, only one matchup remains undecided before the 2013 NBA Finals.
That matchup, of course, is the thrilling Eastern Conference Finals showdown between the Miami Heat and Indiana Pacers—and there’s plenty of tremendous basketball still to be played in that series.
In Game 1, the Heat staved off an early defeat on their home floor in a thrilling overtime victory that saw LeBron James drive the lane to drop in the game-winning bucket as time expired. That finish set the tone for what we would see in the next two games of the series.
Indiana came roaring back in Game 2 with a 97-93 victory in Miami, but the Heat returned the favor on the Pacers’ home floor with a decisive 114-96 victory in Game 3 Sunday night.
With the Heat up 2-1 in the series, the Pacers face an uphill battle to overtake the No. 1 seed to earn a trip to the NBA Finals. It won’t be easy, but there’s a good chance this series will be decided in the full seven games.
|Miami at Indiana||4||Tuesday, May 28||8:30 p.m. ET||TNT|
|Indiana at Miami||5||Thursday, May 30||8:30 p.m. ET||TNT|
|Miami at Indiana||6||Saturday, June 1||8:30 p.m. ET||TNT|
|Indiana at Miami||7||Monday, June 3||8:30 p.m. ET||TNT|
*Full schedule can be found at ESPN.com.
Game 4 Preview and Prediction
Despite dropping Game 2 on their home floor, the Heat made a huge statement in the following contest with a dominant 114-96 win that set the tone for what we’re likely to see Tuesday night in Indiana.
The story of Game 3 wasn’t LeBron James and his dominant postseason play, however. As a team, Miami shot 54.5 percent from the floor and 42.9 percent from beyond the arc, pinning 70 first-half points on one of the best defensive teams in the league.
All five of Miami’s starters scored 14 or more points, including 17 from Udonis Haslem, who added seven rebounds to his stat sheet as well. It was a team effort, and that’s exactly what it will take to upend one of the most complete teams in the NBA.
For Indiana, the Game 3 loss was as simple as atrocious shooting and too many mistakes. The Pacers shot just 29-of-73 from the field and doubled Miami’s turnover count with 10 giveaways in the contest. Sloppy basketball hasn’t been Indiana’s hallmark this year, but it’s what sank the Pacers Sunday night.
Indiana won’t need to make many adjustments for Game 4; simply executing better will be enough to avoid another atrocious performance like it turned out in Game 3. That’s much easier said than done, but it’s the only way Indiana is going to even the series on its home floor in Game 4.
Game 4 Prediction: Miami 98, Indiana 96
Series Prediction: Miami in six.