After the Miami Heat defeated the Indiana Pacers 102-90 in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals to take a 3-1 series lead, one thing remained blatantly apparent: Indiana is a wildly inconsistent basketball team.
This notion isn't entirely new. After all, the Pacers showed signs of faltering late in the regular season and early in the playoffs—especially after being forced into a Game 7 against the Atlanta Hawks in Round 1.
So, what kind of inconsistency is rearing its ugly head against Miami?
First of all, we have the curious case of Roy Hibbert.
After three straight games against the Heat in which Hibbert scored at least 12 points, he put up a goose egg on Monday night. Hibbert finished Game 4 with zero points, five rebounds and one assist.
This wasn't the first time he's been held scoreless in the playoffs, courtesy of a tweet from SportsCenter:
Roy Hibbert had 0 Pts, 5 Reb, 4 fouls tonight, his 4th scoreless game of these playoffs. pic.twitter.com/OfREaEJIs9— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) May 27, 2014
Not only was Hibbert failing to contribute on the offensive end of the court, but he struggled in a big way on the defensive end.
While guarding Chris Bosh, Hibbert maintained position on the inside—even when the solid three-point shooting Bosh stood on the perimeter. This gave Bosh plenty of clean looks from downtown early in the game.
Bosh connected several times, and the Pacers were put into an immediate hole.
Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders tweeted a very telling Hibbert stat following Game 4:
Miami has outscored Indiana by 41 over the last three games with Roy Hibbert on the court after being outscored by 19 in Game 1, per ESPN.— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) May 27, 2014
At this point, inconsistency may as well be Hibbert's middle name.
He's not the only Pacer who holds this title, though.
Even after all of the back-and-forth trash talk with LeBron James, Lance Stephenson couldn't back it up with solid play of his own.
A tweet from SportsCenter really sums things up. Here's a look at the stat lines for Stephenson and James through three quarters of Game 4:
Lance Stephenson says he saw "sign of weakness" in LeBron James. Tonight: • LeBron: 29 Pts, 9 Reb, 5 Ast • Stephenson: 1 point, 4 Ast, 2 Reb— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) May 27, 2014
After scoring 17 and 25 points in Games 1 and 2, respectively, Stephenson has now scored just 10 and nine in Games 3 and 4.
Finally, there's the quote heard around the world from Paul George. Here's what the forward had to say, via a tweet from NBA on ESPN:
"We outplayed them. You gotta give them credit. They won this game at the free-throw line." - Paul George on Game 4. http://t.co/Z8DyD5Xf65— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) May 27, 2014
Here's a far more telling statistic than the game's free-throw numbers: The Pacers turned the ball over 14 times against the Heat's five.
Giving James and Co. that many opportunities to score in transition will not translate to a playoff win.
After 12 and 10 turnovers over Games 1 and 2, the Pacers committed 17 and 14 in Games 3 and 4, respectively. Once again, that's a consistency issue.
The Heat are a very good basketball team—we all know this. Are they better than the Pacers? Well, one NBA legend thinks so, according to his tweet:
This series is simple, the Heat are better than the Pacers on offense & defense.— Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) May 27, 2014
He's absolutely right.
It's not as if the Pacers don't have the talent to compete with Miami. The team simply can't seem to find a way to put it all together on a continuous basis.
That's Indiana's downfall.
Due to this ongoing issue, this series is likely to be over in a hurry.
The fat lady hasn't sung yet, but she's certainly clearing her throat.