MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The Indiana Pacers made it a point this season to get the #1 seed in the Eastern Conference. They wanted to have homecourt advantage in this series, the conference finals against the defending champion Miami Heat. While the Pacers reached their goal to get the top spot in the east, it certainly appears that the Heat are the ones with the true homecourt advantage.
The Heat maintained their dominance at the American Airlines Arena on Monday night, beating Indiana 102-90 to take a commanding 3-1 series lead in the Eastern Conference finals. Miami remains unbeaten at home, now boasting a 7-0 record at the triple-A during the 2014 Playoffs.
Miami exercised some recent demons during their Game 4 win, making the victory that much more satisfying. The Heat won in Game 3 despite getting off to a horrible start and despite Chris Bosh having his third straight ‘off’ night against Indiana.
Both of those issues were non-existent on Monday night as Bosh led the Heat storming out the gate, scoring Miami’s first 8 points and helping the Heat jump out to a 10-2 lead. Bosh scored 17 of his 25 points in the 1st half, collecting six rebounds while making seven of his 12 shots.
“We played the game we wanted to play,” said Bosh. “From beginning to end, with the pressure and everything.”
Following the game LeBron James said that it was his plan to get Bosh involved early and often in this one, and he did just that by assisting on two of Bosh’s first four field goals.
“I told him he was going to have a great game,” James said following the win. “We got off to a fast start because of him.”
That was just the tip of the iceberg for LeBron in Game 4. He came alive in the second half, scoring 14 of his game-high 32 points in the 3rd quarter. James finished the game with a double-double, pulling down 10 rebounds to go along with his 13 for 21 shooting night. He added five assists, two blocks and two steals.
The Heat led by five at halftime but came out of the break with a huge 12 minutes for the second game in a row. Miami outscored the Pacers 31-20 during the 3rd quarter but didn’t stop there, building their lead up to 23 points with just under eight minutes left in the game.
Indiana made one final push, going on a 15-3 run to draw within 11 points of the Heat with four minutes to go. The Pacers would get as close as nine down, but that was with just 1:29 to go. It was also the last points that Indiana would score in Game 4.
It was a frustrating night for the Pacers, but there was a bit more focus on Lance Stephenson following his comments on Sunday suggesting LeBron James showed weakness by engaging in trash talk with Stephenson during Game 3.
Paul George was critical of Stevenson following Game 4, suggesting that the comments made about James may have contributed to Miami’s strong performance.
“Lance is young, and that’s a teaching point. That’s a learning lesson for him,” said George. “Sometimes you’ve just got to watch what you say. You’re on the big stage. Everything we say is going to be bulletin-board material. It’s really going to have a powerful meaning behind it.”
As for Stephenson, he simply had this to say in regard to his comments towards LeBron and the results of Game 4: “I have no regrets. I can take the heat. I can take the fire.”
The series now shifts north to Indiana where the Pacers will try to extend the series back to Miami for a Game 6. The Heat are in a familiar place with a 3-1 lead as this is the 8th time that Miami has held that advantage since 2011, holding a perfect 7-0 record in those playoff series’.
Game 5 is Wednesday night from Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indiana. Tipoff is at 8:30pm.
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