Indiana Pacers vs. Miami Heat: Game 4 Grades and Analysis

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Indiana Pacers vs. Miami Heat: Game 4 Grades and Analysis
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

The Miami Heat appear to be hitting their championship groove just in time, as they took a 3-1 series lead over the Indiana Pacers following Monday's 102-90 victory in Game 4.

Miami led wire to wire, dominating Indiana on both ends of the floor. They led by 20 in the fourth quarter, before a meaningless late-game run made the score look more respectable.

They'll now have a chance to end the Eastern Conference Finals early, giving themselves some rest before the Finals start.

 

Key Player Grades: Miami Heat

LeBron James, Small Forward/Power Forward

Issac Baldizon/Getty Images

James completely dominated his matchup, showing none of the signs of "weakness" Lance Stephenson talked about leading into the game.

He scored from all over the floor, hitting jump shots and slamming home driving dunks. No one could slow him down, not even Stephenson or Paul George.

He finished the game with 32 points on 13-of-21 shooting, to go along with 10 rebounds and five assists.

Grade: A+

 

Dwyane Wade, Shooting Guard

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It seems like in just about every game, one member of Miami's Big Three struggles to get going. Wade was that member Monday night, going 4-of-12 from the field for 15 points.

That doesn't mean he was unable to impact the game, though. He completely took Stephenson out of the game, getting him into foul trouble and holding him to nine points on 3-of-7 shooting.

Grade: B-

 

Chris Bosh, Power Forward/Center

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With one superstar below his typical level of production, Miami had another ready to pick up a bigger share of the scoring load.

Bosh had scored a total of 27 points in the first three games of the series. He dropped 17 in the first half of Game 4. He finished the game with 25 on 7-of-12 shooting, including 3-of-5 from three-point range.

At this point, Bosh is essentially a 6'10" shooting guard. His role on offense is that of a floor-spacer. Defensively, he's not exactly a rim-protector, and he does very little as a rebounder. He grabbed six boards and blocked one shot.

When his jumpers aren't falling, he's really not much of an impact player. When they are, he adds another dimension to Miami's offense that makes them nearly impossible to defend.

Grade: A

 

Mario Chalmers, Point Guard

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Chalmers didn't do much, but he really didn't have to. He played 25 minutes and made two of two shot attempts on the way to four points.

He also dished out three assists.

Grade: B

 

Rashard Lewis, Small Forward/Power Forward

Issac Baldizon/Getty Images

I gave up trying to figure out Erik Spoelstra's substitutions, lineups and rotations months ago. Even still, I was confused about Rashard Lewis starting Game 4.

Outside of James, Wade and Bosh, there seems to be almost no rhyme or reason as to which role players play big minutes or start.

Fortunately for Spoelstra, the fact that the Big Three are so good basically makes the wild rotations a moot point.

Randomly inserting Lewis into the first five really didn't sway the outcome or play of this game either way. He finished with zero points on 0-of-5 shooting in 26 minutes. 

Grade: F

 

Ray Allen, Shooting Guard

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Allen didn't have a huge impact either, scoring nine points on 2-of-8 shooting. 

The threat with Allen is that in any given game, he can go off for four or five threes and totally shift momentum toward Miami.

Just having him on the floor forces the opposition to pay attention, opening up driving lanes for James and Wade.

Grade: C-

 

Bench

The other reserve players who got significant minutes off the bench were Norris Cole and Udonis Haslem. Combined, they shot 3-of-7 from the field for 12 points. 

Neither one did a ton to really impact the game.

Grade: B-

 

Key Player Grades: Indiana Pacers

Paul George, Small Forward/Shooting Guard

Chris Trotman/Getty Images

Despite his team being dominated for much of the game, George played extremely well, never allowing the scoreboard to impact his level of focus or effort.

If it wasn't for his excellent game, the Pacers might've been blasted by 20 to 30 points. He finished the game with 23 points on 8-of-16 shooting.

He did struggle defensively, though. He was the primary defender on LeBron. And though it's just about impossible to stop him, George has had better outings against him on that end.

Grade: A

 

David West, Power Forward

Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

I watched this game with my cousin, who hasn't seen much NBA basketball this season. He kept asking, "Why doesn't that guy get more shots?" whenever West got the ball.

I've been wondering the same thing for months.

The Pacers offense is pitiful, but West has managed to be fairly consistent, while others around him have floundered over the last few months.

That continued in Game 4, as he scored 20 points on 9-of-18 shooting. He also grabbed 12 boards.

Going forward, Indiana has to find a consistent source of offense upon which it can lean when things get stagnant—as they so often do.

West in the post could be that source.

Grade: A

 

Lance Stephenson, Shooting Guard

Chris Trotman/Getty Images

For more than three quarters, Stephenson was darn nearly nonexistent. He had zero points heading into the fourth, but he went on a personal mini-run toward the end of the game to finish with nine.

He also grabbed five rebounds, dished out four assists, and did a decent job on Wade defensively. 

He'll have to put up bigger numbers if he wants to truly back up a lot of the talking he's done this week.

Grade: C

 

George Hill, Point Guard

Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Hill was solid as a scorer, doing the majority of his damage from beyond the arc. He finished the game with 15 points, hitting 4-of-7 from downtown.

His defense was solid as well, as he didn't allow either Chalmers or Cole to really get loose at any point in the game.

Grade: B

 

Roy Hibbert, Center

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Sad Hibbert appears to be back. A performance of zero points on 0-of-4 shooting will do that to a man.

A lot of the credit for bringing back the Hibbert of the first round goes to Bosh, who made him look completely irrelevant on both ends of the floor.

Bosh made Hibbert play on the perimeter on defense, where he looks completely out of his element. On the other end, Bosh kept Hibbert off the boards and didn't allow him to get any easy buckets.

Grade: F

 

C.J. Watson, Point Guard

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Watson got the most minutes off the bench with 20, but he only managed to get up two shots. He made one and scored three points.

With the ineptitude of Indiana's offense, the team needs more guys who can step up and score on their own.

Watson's outside shooting should make him that kind of option, but he simply didn't get the looks.

Grade: C-

 

Bench

Luis Scola had the biggest impact off the bench, scoring 12 points on 6-of-8 shooting.

Ian Mahinmi and Rasual Butler combined to go 3-of-6 from the field for eight points.

Grade: B

 

What's Next?

Jesse D. Garrabrant/Getty Images

Indiana looks horribly outmatched but will at least have the benefit of being at home for Game 5. It'll need a much better offensive performance to compete.

Miami will have an opportunity to close out the series, and if it can get big nights out of two of the Big Three, it should be just fine.

Game 5 is set for Wednesday, May 28, at 8:30 p.m. ET.

 

Andy Bailey covers the NBA for Bleacher Report.

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