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Notes, quotes, postscripts from Heat's Game 4 loss

Please see the previous post for the regular Wednesday buzz column, with lots of UM news and some Dolphins and Marlins.

On to...

Postscripts from the Heat’s 99-92 Game 4 loss at Indiana that left the Eastern Conference Finals tied at 2-2.

So many problems tonight. Here are 12 of them:

1) The Heat was pummeled on the boards, 49-30, with Roy Hibbert scoring two key late baskets after grabbing offensive rebounds: one to put Indiana ahead for good at 91-89 with 2:42 left, and another that resulted in a three-point play to push the Pacer lead to five with 1:30 to go.

“I’m trying to be physical, be tough, create extra possessions,” Hibbert said. “It’s a mental thing – do you want to bang with LeBron, Chris Andersen and Chris Bosh?... There’s not one guy in that locker-room that didn’t believe we were going to win tonight. We’re evenly matched. It’s a matter of who wants it more.”

Especially damning: The Pacers had 15 offensive rebounds and outscored Miami 50-32 in the paint. “We can’t allow[it]… to get beaten on the glass by 20,” James said. Shockingly, Ray Allen led Miami in rebounds with seven.

2) Bosh (seven points, two rebounds, 1 for 6 shooting) was limited to 30 minutes by foul trouble and thoroughly dominated by Hibbert (23 points, 12 rebounds).

And Hibbert also consistently got the better of Andersen, who’s a much better team defender than individual defender. Andersen, by the way, didn’t attempt a shot after making all 13 of his attempts in the first four games.

Hibbert joined Dallas’ Dirk Nowitzki as the only players in the Big Three Era to post three straight playoff games of at least 20 points and 10 rebounds against Miami.

By the way, Bosh said his ankle injury – he left briefly in the second half before returning – won’t be an issue going forward.

3) Dwyane Wade was ordinary when the Heat needed him to be better than that, scoring 16 points on 5 for 15 shooting and committing a traveling violation with the Heat down four and 26 seconds left.

"We didn’t get to what we needed to,” Wade said. “We had too many guys on the perimeter. [But] as the game went on, we got the shots we wanted.”

Wade has now gone 10 games in a row without scoring 20 points – the longest streak of his career. At one point, TNT’s Reggie Miller said: “Wade looks like he’s going through the motions.” TNT’s Steve Kerr, in the second quarter, added: “It looks like he’s going half speed.”

4) James, who scored 24 points, fouled out for only the fifth time in his career (and second in 128 playoff games) on a highly questionable call with 56 seconds left.

“I didn’t believe it was an offensive foul,” James said of that sixth foul. “I was going to set a screen. Lance actually ran into me. You’d like to be there for my teammates. There were a couple calls I didn’t feel like were personal fouls on me.”

5) The Heat’s offense was awful in the final five minutes. After Ray Allen’s three put the Heat ahead 89-86 with 5:13 left, Miami finished the game shooting 1 for 9 (James’ three being the only basket, with 1:20 left) and two turnovers. 

Chalmers had three of those eight late misses, a sour close to an otherwise strong night for Miami’s point guard, who closed with 20 points. Miami was plus-11 with Chalmers in the game, best on the team. Allen had two of the eight misses and shot just 4 for 13, continuing a puzzling stretch of poor shooting.

“They did a good job of taking away our first option and second option,” James said. “We had a lot of good looks that didn’t go down.”

6) The Heat played without a point guard for a long stretch after Chalmers picked up his fourth foul, and the results weren’t good. When Chalmers left, the Heat was up 60-57 with 6:37 left in the third. When he returned, Miami was down 81-72 and 8:41 left.

7) LeBron got off to a 2-for-9 start – he closed 8 for 18 --- and didn’t produce in the post as he had with so much success in Game 3. James was just 1 for 6 (three points) on post-ups in Game 4, after scoring 14 points in the post in Game 3.

“I tried to figure out how to guard in the post [at practice],” Paul George said. “Playing cat and mouse with him kind of messed up his rhythm” because he didn’t know when a second defender would come to help.

8) Stephenson played with the energy that Wade seemingly lacked at times, finishing with 20 points and five rebounds and giving a good defensive effort against James when the two were matched up. James – clearly not a big fan of Stephenson (who gave him the choke sign during last year’s playoffs) – made it obvious he didn’t want to specifically discuss Stephenson’s defense against him.

9) David West was again a load, with 14 points and 11 rebounds. In the wake of a 17-point eruption in Game 4, Udonis Haslem attempted only five shots, hitting three, on a quiet six-point, two rebound night. James ended up guarding West a good deal when the Heat went small.

10) The Heat’s small lineup wasn’t very good, and Allen was vulnerable when asked to defend a point guard or George.

11) The Pacers not only kept James and Wade out of the paint as much they would like, but Miami had trouble finishing around the basket. On shots within five feet, the Heat scored 22 points on 47.8 percent shooting. During the first three games of the series, Miami averaged 40 points per game on 69.8 percent on shots within five feet.

12) Overall, the Heat shot 39 percent. “They did a good job of taking away our first option and second option,” James said. “We had a lot of good looks that didn’t go down.” Miami protected the ball well (six turnovers) but couldn’t overcome poor shooting and the absurd rebounding deficit.

MORE POST-GAME SOUNDBITES

### Spoelstra: “They got all the loose balls and long rebounds in the fourth quarter. We pride ourselves on closing out games and we weren’t able to.”

### Hibbert: “Our guards did a real good job of keeping their man in front of them so I didn’t have rotate as much.”

### Frank Vogel: “Our guys rose to the challenge to start the game. And when Miami took the lead, they rose to the challenge again. Our defense returned to form. We made some minor adjustments, nothing major. They’re as complete an opponent as we’ll ever face.”

### LeBron: “We wanted to be greedy and get two [here]. But we were able to come here and regain homecourt. We feel good about that.”

### TNT’s Charles Barkley: Roy Hibbert and David West are going to be good every game [vs. Miami] because they’re shooting over a load of munchkins.”

         

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