The Miami Heat fell to the Indiana Pacers in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals, losing 99-92 Tuesday night. The Heat erased two deficits of nine or more points, but wilted in the final moments while the Pacers finished on a 13-3 run.
LeBron James scored 24 points with 6 rebounds and 5 assists, but fouled out with 56 seconds remaining. The Heat were outscored in the paint 50-35, settling for too many contested jump shots and allowing the Pacers to dictate the pace of the game, something they did not do in Miami's Game 3 blowout.
"It was a couple of fouls that I didn't feel like were fouls, personal fouls on me, but that's how the game goes sometimes," James said.
The Pacers shot 50 percent from the field, while Miami shot a dismal 39%. Indiana also won on the glass, out-rebounding the Heat 49-30.
"That's what the series is about, who can get to who and do it for longer periods of time. They kept us out of the paint," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. "We'll just have to do it better."
Roy Hibbert led the Pacers with 23 points and 12 rebounds, shooting an efficient 10 of 16. Lance Stephenson scored 20 points, George Hill scored 19, and David West scored 14.
Indiana started the game on an 11-0 run, but the Heat settled down and briefly held a 17-16 lead in the first quarter. Miami was dreadful on offense in the first half, shooting 39.5 percent (including 1 of 14 from midrange). A 13-5 Heat run over the last 3 minutes of the second quarter cut the Pacers' lead to 48-47.
Miami fell farther behind again in the third quarter, and by early in the fourth quarter the Pacers led 81-72 and appeared to be cruising to victory. Then Miami went on an inexplicable 14-2 run to take a 86-83 lead.
"We had them right where we wanted them, but every time we would get a stop, especially in the fourth quarter, we didn't come up with the rebound," Bosh said. "It was there for us, but we didn't capitalize."
That proved to be short-lived, as the Pacers made four offensive rebounds while the Heat were unable to attempt a shot from within 10 feet of the rim through the remainder of the game, shooting 2 of 9.
A James 3-pointer with 1:20 made it 94-92 Indiana, but the Heat committed two turnovers in the final minute (including the offensive foul that sent James to the bench) and would not score again.
Mario Chalmers scored 20 points, Dwyane Wade scored 16 points, and Ray Allen scored 11 points off the bench.
With the series even at 2 games apiece, Game 5 will be played Thursday night in Miami.
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