In a series that has had more twists and turns than a Leo Tolstoy novel; the Miami Heat have undergone an amazing transformation since they took the floor on Sunday afternoon to take on the Indiana Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse for the fourth game of their seven game match-up. After dropping game three to Indiana on Thursday night, the Heat were already being eulogized by many NBA observers even though they trailed by just one game. However, the Pacers did dominate the contest on Thursday night and without Chris Bosh on the floor for Miami and with Sunday’s game being played on Indiana’s home-court, the odds were in the Pacers favor that they would hold a 3-1 series edge when the action returned to Miami on Tuesday night.
Circumstances of course did not work out that way; as it is Miami who hold the advantage in the match-up and now have their opponents reeling after blowing the Pacers out at American Airlines Arena Tuesday night, winning the game with ease by a margin of 115-83. The Heat now hold a 3-2 series lead and with forwards Danny Granger and David West doubtful for game six on Thursday night; the Pacers may find their season coming to an end in front of their home fans in that contest.
Although Miami dominated the game on Tuesday night; the real turning point in the match-up occurred Sunday afternoon, in the third quarter of game four; when the Pacers let their opponents off the mat giving them new life and allowing them to grab the lead at the end of the period and later the game. The Heat outscored their opponents 30-16 during those 12 minutes of action; which was the turning point in the game and most likely the series.
Had Indiana held on and won that contest, the speculation about how Miami was going to rebuild for next season would have been at a fever pitch by Tuesday night as well as the talk about who would be replacing Erik Spoelstra as the bench boss for the team next season. The tension in the Heat clubhouse would have been so thick prior to game five that you would be able to hold it in your hand. With all the pressure on the home team, the Pacers may have been able to close out the series in game five and start to prepare for an appearance in the Eastern Conference Finals and possibly their first trip to the NBA Finals since they were coached by Team President Larry Bird.
Instead things are looking rather bleak for the Pacers after losing on Tuesday night and if they have to take the court without their two starting forwards on Thursday; their prospects of extending the series are not promising. Now the Heat have regained their position as the favorites in the Eastern Conference to head to the big dance; all because their opponents could not close out the contest in game four.