Miami wins series 4-2
|Game 1: Sunday, May 18th|
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|Game 2: Tuesday, May 20th|
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|Game 3: Saturday, May 24th|
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|Game 4: Monday, May 26th|
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|Game 5: Wednesday, May 28th|
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|Game 6: Friday, May 30th|
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8:30 PM ET, May 28, 2014
Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, IN
MIAMI (AP) -- Frank Vogel stood with his back against a wall, seeming perfectly comfortable.
He's hoping his Indiana Pacers can do the same.
The Pacers' season of great expectation is now in great trouble, with the Miami Heat leading the Eastern Conference finals 3-1 heading into Game 5 at Indianapolis on Wednesday night. The Heat have won three straight in the series, and are now one win from ending the Pacers' season for a third consecutive year.
"I think anytime you lose three in a row in the playoffs, it shakes your confidence some," Vogel, the Pacers' coach, said in a downtown Miami hotel lobby before his team headed to the airport Tuesday. "But we can't worry about that. All we've got to worry about is coming back and winning Game 5 and giving us an opportunity to come down here and win one game.
"We've won one game in each playoff series that we've played here the last two years. We should have confidence that we can do that."
It's safe to wonder if confidence is in short supply, though, as the Pacers seem to be rattling.
Some Indiana issues in the last three games include: Floundering late to lose Game 2 at home, blowing a 15-point lead at Miami in Game 3, Lance Stephenson calling LeBron James out before Game 4, Roy Hibbert failing to score a point Monday, and Paul George and David West both putting that loss on what they thought was one-sided officiating.
"Home-cooking," George said.
Added West: "We learned some new rules."
Vogel said he wasn't bothered by what George said, and declined to say if the Pacers would argue Game 4 officiating points with the league office. The league, however, had issues with George's comments and fined the Pacers forward $25,000 on Tuesday for public criticism of the officiating.
Despite the fine and George's concerns, Indiana -- bolstered by a 37-15 edge in Game 1 -- has still taken 94 free throws in the series to Miami's 87, and the Heat have been charged with four more fouls.
"We can't control calls," Vogel said. "We've got to worry about what we (can control), our turnovers, our shot selection, our passing, our defense."
There was some irony in George's postgame remarks Monday night, in which he alternated between seeming to gently chide Stephenson for his "weakness" comments about James and making multiple references to the free-throw disparity in Game 4.
After Game 1's one-sided foul-shot totals, the Heat did not openly complain about officiating.
"It had nothing to do with the disparity in that game," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. "We did everything wrong."
They've pretty much done everything right since.
And now it's the Pacers who have absolutely no room for error, since only eight teams in NBA history have successfully overcome a 3-1 series deficit. No one has done so this deep into the playoffs since 1981.
"We know we can close it out, but it's going to be a very hostile environment," said Heat forward Chris Bosh, who scored 25 points in Game 4. "We're expecting that. We're expecting them at their best. It's always extremely hard to close out a team."
Vogel -- who held a pre-flight film session before the Pacers left Miami -- said he implored his players in that meeting to only think about Game 5 and not allow themselves to become consumed with the daunting task of climbing out of a 3-1 hole.
"I think that is when we are at our best, when our back is against the wall," Pacers guard George Hill said. "We are going to be home in front of our fans and I'm sure they're going to be going crazy."
The Heat would expect nothing less.
A win would give Miami more than a week off before the NBA Finals begin on June 5. It would also give the Heat franchise the distinction of being the third club in NBA history to make the finals in four straight seasons, joining the Celtics and Lakers.
"We don't want to come back for Game 6," James said. "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."
Neither team practiced Tuesday.... Heat F Chris Andersen, held out of Game 4 with a deep thigh contusion, was getting treatment Tuesday. So was Heat G Ray Allen, who took a tumble after a hard screen late in Game 4.
Team Stat Leaders
Chris Bosh's 25 points in Game 4 were his most in a playoff game since the 2011 East Finals, his first postseason with the Heat. That day, he scored 34 vs the Bulls. He followed that performance up with 22 the next game, giving him the best 2-game stretch in his playoff career (56 points). Getting to the free throw line like he did in Game 4 would help him match that effort. His 10 free throw attempts were his most in a playoff game since the first round of the 2012 playoffs (Game 4 vs Knicks).[+]
Chris Bosh - This Postseason
The Heat are 2-7 on the road against the Pacers over the last 2 seasons (including both the regular season and playoffs). Miami snapped a 5-game road losing streak against Indiana in Game 2 of this series.[+]
Miami Heat - vs Pacers By Location Last 2 Seasons
The Heat are 7-0 in Game 5 when holding a 3-1 lead in the James-Wade-Bosh era (since 2011 playoffs).[+]
Heat in Game 5 With 3-1 Lead - James-Wade-Bosh Era (Since 2011 Playoffs)
From Elias: LeBron James is averaging 28.7 points, 9.0 rebounds and 6.7 assists in 29 career potential-series clinching games. From Elias: He's 1 of 4 players in NBA history that has career averages of at least 25 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists while playing in at least 5 such games (Michael Jordan, Jerry West, Larry Bird).
If the Pacers lose tonight, it will mark the 3rd time in the last quarter-century that they have lost in the conference finals in consecutive seasons...that matches the total that the rest of the NBA has posted in that span, although the Pistons lost 3 straight from 2006-08...[+]
Lost Consecutive Conference Finals Appearances
The Heat are just 1 win shy of making the NBA Finals for a 4th consecutive season. Miami would be the first team to accomplish that feat since the Celtics spanning 1984-87.[+]
Teams to Reach NBA Finals At Least 4 Consecutive Times
The Heat are trying to become the first team to 3-peat since the Lakers accomplished that feat spanning 2000-02.[+]
Teams To Win At Least 3 Consecutive Titles - NBA History
The Pacers are just 4-5 at home this postseason after going an NBA-best 35-6 in the regular season.[+]
Pacers at Home This Season
The Pacers are 0-3 all-time in best-of-7 NBA playoff series when trailing 3-1.[+]
Pacers When Trailing 3-1 - Best-of-7 NBA Playoff Series All-Time
Here's a cross-sport look at the last time a team made 4 straight title appearances. Among the 4 major North American sports, the Yankees were the last to do it, spanning 1998-2001.[+]
Last Time Team Made 4 Straight Title Appearances - 4 Major North American Sports
Teams that lead a best-of-7 series 3-1 go on to win the series 96.4 percent of the time (214-8). The last team to overcome a 3-1 series deficit was Phoenix in the 2006 First Round against the Lakers. The last time a team overcame a 3-1 deficit in the Conference Finals was in 1981 when the Celtics pulled the comeback off against the 76ers en route to winning the title that season.[+]
Teams To Comeback From 3-1 Deficit - NBA History
Roy Hibbert went scoreless in Game 4 after averaging 15.7 points per game in Games 1-3. Hibbert has 4 scoreless games this postseason, the most in NBA history by a player that was selected to the All-Star game that season. Jim King of the San Francisco Warriors previously topped that list with 3 scoreless games in the 1968 postseason.
Paul George scored 21 points in the 4th quarter of Game 5, the most by any player in the 4th quarter when facing elimination in the last 15 postseasons.[+]
LeBron's 7 points were a career low but he also had just 4 assists... He scored or assisted on 19 of Miami's 90 points... He accounted for 21 percent of his teams points, the fewest he has ever accounted for in a playoff game.[+]
Fewest Pct Of Team Pts Scored Or Assisted On - LeBron James Postseason Career
Paul George's 37 points were his most in a postseason game against the Heat (previous high: 28). Meanwhile, James scored a playoff career-low 7 points after thoroughly outplaying George in the first 4 games of the series.[+]
Eastern Conference Finals
LeBron James picked up his 3rd foul with 6:03 left in the 2nd quarter. This is just the 2nd time this season James has recorded 3 fouls in the 1st half. The other time was also against the Pacers (12/18/2013).
LeBron James scored a playoff-career low 7 points in Game 5 against the Pacers. His previous low was a Game 4 loss in the 2011 NBA Finals when he scored 8 against the Mavericks, including 0 in the 4th quarter. LeBron's teams are 0-9 in the playoffs when he scores 15 or fewer points.[+]
LeBron James Fewest Points in a Playoff Game
The Heat and Kings have had similar series against their current opponents. Both series started May 18th and it's been a mirror image since then:[+]
Heat and Kings - Conference Finals
LeBron James has scored at least 25 points in each of the last 11 games in which his team had a chance to clinch a playoff series on the road, tied for the second-longest streak in NBA history (ELIAS).[+]
The Heat scored a season-low 22 points in the paint Wednesday, in large part due to LeBron James' foul trouble. James was second in the NBA in paint scoring this season (Blake Griffin), but was just 1-of-5 in the paint Wednesday. James was particularly ineffective on drives in Game 5. James went 0-of-3 on such plays before dishing to Chris Bosh for a potential game-tying 3-pointer at the end of regulation, a shot Bosh missed. Entering the game, James was 8-of-13 on his drives in the series, with his teammates shooting 6-of-7 when he passed. The game turned in the third quarter for the Pacers when James picked up his fifth foul. The Heat drove only two times in the third, getting outscored 16-2 in the paint. As a team, the Heat drove a series-low 17 times in Game 5.[+]
Heat on LeBron James Drives This Series
The Pacers scored 33 points in the 1st half of Game 5, the fewest allowed by the Heat in any half this postseason. It's tied for the third-fewest points allowed by the Heat in the 1st half of a postseason game in the Big 3 era (since 2010-11).[+]
Fewest 1st-Half Points Allowed by Heat in Postseason Since 2011
Dwyane Wade could not contain Paul George in Game 5. George was 10-of-14 against Wade, including 5-of-6 in the fourth quarter. Wade did play tight defense. He contested every jump shot George attempted against him. Yet, George managed to make 8-of-11 jumpers when guarded by Wade. Wade guarded George on only four plays in the first half. In the second half, Wade guarded George on 12-of-17 plays (not including transition).[+]
Paul George by Defender in Game 5
ESPN Stats & Information