Desperate Heat try to solve Pacers in Game 4
(Sports Network) - Handling adversity is a measuring stick used to define any team.
And it's time to define the Miami Heat as the prohibitive favorites in the East get ready to tip it off against Indiana in Game 4 of the conference semifinals.
The Pacers placed a foot firmly on the throat of the star-studded Heat on Thursday when Roy Hibbert scored 19 points and grabbed 18 rebounds in Game 3 as Indiana rolled to a 94-75 win over Miami to take a 2-1 series lead.
George Hill scored 20 points, Danny Granger added 17 and David West had 14 for Indy, which took control with a 26-12 third quarter and led comfortably in the fourth on the way to their second straight win.
LeBron James scored 22 points for the Heat, but Dwyane Wade had just five -- all in the second half -- while Mario Chalmers led the way with 25.
"We're certainly happy with the win," said Pacers coach Frank Vogel, "but we understand we have a lot of work to do. We're not going to get overjoyed."
James scored 16 of his 22 points in the first half and came out of the game, along with Wade and Chalmers, with 2:43 remaining and the Heat trailing by 20.
Miami, of course, is still smarting from the loss of forward Chris Bosh, who went down in Game 1 with a lower abdominal strain and isn't expected to be available for the series.
Wade played, but his scoring was absent for most of the game. He didn't hit his first shot until the third quarter and was seen having a testy exchange with Heat coach Erik Spoelstra during a timeout.
The Heat were trailing by 14 entering the fourth quarter and never got closer than 11; the Pacers led by as many as 21.
"A good, old-fashioned butt kicking," said Spoelstra.
Wade was 0-for-5 until making his first shot early in the third quarter. He finished a dismal 2-for-13.
"He's definitely going to play better," James said of his teammate. "He's looking forward to Game 4. He definitely didn't want to play the way he did but it was one of those games where he couldn't get into a rhythm."
The third quarter also featured two chippy exchanges between the teams.
West was whistled for a technical foul after coming face-to-face with Chalmers when the Miami guard slapped the ball out of his hands in a stoppage. West had just been fouled hard by Shane Battier under the basket.
Later, Granger got a technical for doubling back to jaw at James after pulling the superstar's jersey near midcourt to prevent a fastbreak. James' elbow had come up slightly as Granger clutched at the bottom of his jersey.
"They understand very clearly that we are not interested in any ejection or suspension," Vogel said of his players. "They also understand very clearly that a key to this series is letting the Miami Heat know that we're not backing down from them."
Meanwhile, the exchange between Wade and Spoelstra near the Heat bench is just something that happens, the Miami mentor said.
"Anyone who has been part of a team [knows] how often that happens," said Spoelstra. "That was during a very emotional part of the game. We were getting our butts kicked."
Concerned his team was pressing, Spoelstra gave the players a day off on Friday before resuming preparation for the all important Game 4 on Saturday. Wade reportedly drove to Bloomington, Ind. to visit Indiana coach Tom Crean, his former college coach at Marquette, while James went to the see the movie "The Dictator."
"We wanted to get away," Spoelstra said of his decision.
The Pacers, obviously, expect Wade, who is dealing with nagging leg soreness, to provide more for the Heat in Game 4.
"We showed clips of him torching us in previous games, making shots that he's been missing in this series," Vogel said. "Dwyane Wade has not been the normal Dwyane Wade we're all used to seeing. We understand the threats that are there and I've made sure they leave here understanding that this team can beat us."
Miami won three of the four from Indiana in the regular season. The only other playoff meeting between the Pacers and Heat came in 2004 in the East semifinals with Indiana winning in six games.
Game 5 of the series will be in on Tuesday in Miami.
05/20 10:40:23 ET