A lot of controversy in this one. I was livid after witnessing some of the calls against the Pacers, particularly in the 4th quarter (I have no idea how the timekeeper and all three officials could miss the ball bouncing off -- not grazing, but bouncing off -- the rim before that shot clock violation, and I also have no idea how a ball that clearly came off Ray Allen and did not touch David West ended up being Heat ball). But at the very end, I guess you could say the calls kind of evened out. Not to say Lebron James did not set an illegal screen that got him fouled out (he did, after all, move while setting the pick and stepped on Lance Stephenson's foot), or that D-Wade did not travel on the ensuing Heat possession -- but I can't deny that I would be mad if those same calls were made against the Pacers.
What matters, ultimately, is that the Indiana Pacers somehow managed to pull out a 99-92 victory to even the the Eastern Conference Finals at 2-2. Calls aside, it was the rebounding that kept the Pacers in the game.The Pacers dominated the boards 49-30, and even though the offensive rebound count was close at 15-12, some of the Pacers' ones came at the biggest moments of the game (courtesy of Roy Hibbert).
For the game, Hibbert was the beast the Pacers needed him to be, putting up 23 points on 10-16 shooting to go with 12 rebounds, half of which were offensive. Lance Stephenson was the X-factor again, scoring 20 huge points including a buzzer-beating 3-pointer while falling out of bounds to end the 3rd quarter and a couple of big shots down the stretch to keep the Pacers in the game.
The Pacers did a better job defensively overall than in game 3, but you can be sure that the Heat will make adjustments for the pivotal game 5 back in Miami, which the Pacers have to consider a must-win game because winning the final 2 games of the series against this Heat team would be an almost insurmountable task.
I am still hoping for one more big offensive game from Paul George, who has struggled in the last couple of games, seemingly gassed out from defending LeBron James for 40 minutes night after night. His jumpers have been way off, suggesting his legs are fatigued, but he'll have to make LeBron work at the end of the court to make his own defensive assignment a little easier.
Conventional wisdom suggests the Heat will click again and close out this series by winning the next two games. But if there is anything I have learned from this series it's that you should never count out this Pacers team because they are all heart.
I'm really enjoying your blog!!! I looove the Pacers and hope they ultimately win the series and championship. I'm from California and not really into basketball, but I did watch the Pacers a lot in the late 90s and early 2000s. There's something special abt that team. I was totally outnumbered when i was rooting for them against the Lakers for the championship back in the day haha. Reggie Miller's legacy lives on...and i hope he can see his team win this yr!