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Pacers Even Up Eastern Conference Finals

by Photo of Ross Bernhardt

Roy Hibbert dominated the paint as this series shifts back to Miami tied 2-2.

Pacers Even Up Eastern Conference Finals

The Eastern Conference Finals matchup between the Indiana Pacers and the Miami Heat is turning into the most competitive series we've seen in this postseason. Neither team has been able to hold the edge for more than a game as Indiana evened things up with a 99-92 win over the Heat last night. 

Both teams split their home sets, and it's turned into a best-of-three set. Indiana's defense held Miami to a dismal shooting performance (39% from the field, only Udonis Haslem and Norris Cole shot above 50%) while the Pacers' starters all scored in double digits. The Pacers dominated the glass as well, out-rebounding the Heat 49-30 (and 34-18 on the defensive glass) and imposing their will on the interior. Roy Hibbert had another fine game, putting up 23 points and 12 rebounds. It was Hibbert's third-straight 20/10 double-double. Miami lacks a true interior presence to really bang with Hibbert (Chris Bosh and Chris Andersen can't really defend him), so continued to exploit it.

The juicier story coming out of the game was LeBron James fouling out at the end on a questionable call with under a minute left. James went to set a screen at the top of the key for Dwayne Wade, but Wade ended up refusing the screen. Lance Stephenson, matched up with Wade, attempted to get around it and tripped over LeBron's foot. Did LeBron move outwards after establishing position? Probably. But it was minimal at most, especially compared to other screens. At the of the call, Miami was trailing 96-92 and had the ball. There's no way to know if the Heat come back if that call isn't made, but it isn't crazy to think they could have.

Moving forward, both teams have to continue playing to their strengths. Indiana has to continue going to Hibbert. They need to keep that physical, stifling defense up. Miami has to figure out a way to make the Pacers win from the perimeter, and they need to get Chris Bosh going to take some of the load off LeBron and Wade. I can't wait to see the chess moves that Frank Vogel and Erik Spoelstra will make going into Game 5, and this series should continue to entertain.

Let CHARGED.fm get you tickets to see the Indiana Pacers and the Miami Heat in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals!

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