MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The Miami Heat return to the AmericanAirlines Arena Wednesday to begin preparations for a critical Game 5 matchup in the Eastern Conference Finals. The Heat has a huge headache in the form of Indiana Pacers center Roy Hibbert and no way to really solve the problem.
Going into the series, and really ever since the Big Three came together for the Heat, the Heat’s biggest weakness has been dealing with opponents who have strong low post play. Unfortunately for Heat fans, Indiana has arguably one of the best low post tandems in the NBA, and it’s shown up in the Eastern Conference Finals.
Through four games in the series against the Heat, Pacers center Roy Hibbert has averaged more than a double-double per game. Hibbert has averaged 22.8 points and 12 rebounds per game against the Heat while playing 39.3 minutes per game.
Hibbert isn’t alone as Pacers power forward David West has averaged 18.5 points and 8.5 rebounds per game in the Eastern Conference Finals. Add in small forward Paul George’s 18.5 points and four rebounds per contest and it’s easy to see the Pacers’ front line domination against the Heat.
Miami’s front line of LeBron James, Chris Bosh, and Udonis Haslem has gotten plenty of production out of LeBron, but outside of Game 3, Haslem and Bosh haven’t been factors. Bosh is averaging just 3.3 rebounds per game in the EC Finals and Haslem is averaging 6.5 and 4.8 rebounds per game.
Overall, Indiana is outrebounding Miami by a pace of 44 rebounds to 34 rebounds per game. Game 4 saw Indiana completely dominate the Heat on the boards by a margin of 49-30 and no team with a rebounding margin of -20 will make it far in the Eastern Conference Finals.
The problem for Miami is they have no solution for Hibbert going forward and if he continues to play at the level he has been through the first four games of the series; the Heat are in deep trouble when it comes to advancing to the Eastern Conference Finals.