Following a Game 4 loss to the Miami Heat by a score of 102-90, the Indiana Pacers suddenly find themselves on the brink of elimination heading into a Game 5 contest at home.
The Pacers continue their trend of playing wildly inconsistent basketball—something that could be the team's undoing in this series.
Game 5 figures to be a highly entertaining contest, as Indiana will look to extend the series with a home win, while the Heat will attempt to shut the door on the Pacers and earn a trip to the NBA Finals.
Let's take a look at the game's viewing information and odds, and then we'll predict how this pivotal game could potentially unfold.
Pacers vs. Heat Game 5
Series: Heat lead 3-1
When: Wed., May 28
Where: Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, IN
Time: 8:30 p.m. ET
Odds: Miami -2 (via OddsShark.com)
The Heat proved to be too much for the Pacers to handle on both ends of the court in Game 4 after another solid showing from LeBron James and a resurgent performance from Chris Bosh.
James earned a double-double, scoring a game-high 32 points and accumulating 10 rebounds, while Bosh got things going early with a pair of threes and finished with 25 points.
Things didn't quite go swimmingly for the Pacers.
Roy Hibbert laid his fourth goose egg of the 2014 playoffs in Game 4, finishing with zero points, five rebounds and one assist.
Hibbert was dismal on the defensive end of the court as well. He allowed far too much space between himself and Bosh on the perimeter, which led to Bosh's early threes and put Indiana in an early hole.
Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders tweeted a telling statistic of Hibbert's recent decline:
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
To make matters worse, Lance Stephenson couldn't cash in after the trash talking between himself and James leading up to the game. SportsCenter tweeted each player's stats after three quarters of play on Monday:
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
On top of all of that, the Pacers turned the ball over 14 times to Miami's five and recorded only one steal while the Heat accumulated five.
Despite the contradicting comments from Paul George, the Heat have been outplaying the Pacers in decisive fashion.
It all comes down to which team shows up in Game 5.
The Pacers are a great home team, racking up a 35-6 record in Indiana this season. The team gets a great amount of support from the fans in attendance, which could lead to a surge in performance on Wednesday.
Still, according to a press conference with the Associated Press, via Steve Aschburner of NBA.com, James has other plans:
Said James, "We don’t want to come back with a Game 6. We love our fans, obviously. We love being in Miami, but we want to try to close it out. But we’re going to have to work for it. It’s not going to be easy, not against this team."
In this situation, it's hard to bet against a determined LeBron James.
Heat 98, Pacers 94