2014 Eastern Conference Champions!

Heat Face Must-Win Game 4

Heat need Dwyane Wade, three-point shooters to bounce back if they want to win Game 4

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Can Dwyane Wade regain his mojo in time for Game 4?

    Only with the Miami Heat would the cancellation of a Friday morning practice be considered breaking news. The Heat scrapped practice after their Game 3 loss, and also canceled a media session. Both moves were painted as evidence of a team in disarray by the media, tossed in with Dwyane Wade's argument with coach Erik Spoelstra during the third quarter of Game 3.

    Seriously, where is Allen Iverson when you need him? As far as the Heat are concerned, the entire uproar was much ado about nothing.

    The team spent Friday morning relaxing at their hotel in Indianapolis, in need of a respite from the firestorm that has been building since Chris Bosh was lost to injury midway through Game 1.

    Two straight losses to the upstart Pacers have put the Heat on the ropes, but in many ways the Heat have put themselves in their current bad position.

    Miami's outside shooting did not improve in Game 3. Sharpshooters Shane Battier, Mike Miller and James Jones are not knocking down their open looks. According to ESPN, the Heat are shooting a putrid 3 of 19 on unguarded catch and shoot jumpers, a big reason why the team's three-point shooting has been so bad.

    Then there is the play of Wade, who posted the worst playoff performance of his career on Thursday. Only scoring 5 points on 2 of 13 shooting, Wade repeatedly made the same mistakes that haunted him in the 2011 NBA Finals against the Dallas Mavericks.

    Instead of attacking the rim and using his athleticism to create lanes to the hoop, Wade continually settled for difficult jump shots. He only attempted just one shot near the rim in Game 3, instead trying to play hero ball from long range.

    Perhaps that was what Spoelstra was addressing when he and Wade exchanged heated words on the bench, but the Heat have stayed mum on the issue.

    "We've got a lot of alpha males in this locker room," Udonis Haslem said of the incident. "It's all constructive criticism. I don't think it's personal with anybody. Emotions get high. It's the playoffs."

    "Dwyane and I have been together for a long time, a long time," Spoelstra said. "We've been through basically everything. A lot of different roles, a lot of different teams. That really is nothing. That type of fire, shoot, that's good."

    But perhaps Wade's struggles are injury-related. Reports are he has been receiving extra medical treatments on his leg, but Wade was cagey when asked about his health. "At this point of the season, no one is 100 percent," he said.

    With the Heat already clearly missing Bosh (as evidenced by the resurgence of Pacers center Roy Hibbert), a less-than-full-power Wade could be the difference between a berth in the Eastern Conference Finals and elimination.

    Game 4 tips off at 3:30 on Sunday. Win, and Miami regains home court advantage ahead of a return to South Florida. Lose, and the Heat are even closer to their season ending in the most unceremonious way possible.

    "It's a must win, honestly," LeBron James said after Game 3. "We've just got to go out and play."