The NBA playoffs ended the same for the Indiana Pacers the last two years, thanks to the Miami Heat. But the Heat-Pacers showdowns have been among the most contentious of the last two playoffs, as Indiana put up a big finish before going down. Since the Pacers had home court advantage this time around and had been waiting to face the Heat again all year, logic dictated that this playoff rematch would be the biggest battle of all -- yet Game 4 on May 26 further showed that it may be Miami's easiest time to date.
The Heat led wire-to-wire in their 102-90 victory, securing their third straight win over the Pacers and a 3-1 lead in the Eastern Conference finals. After overcoming a 2-1 deficit and a Game 4 halftime deficit in the 2012 conference semifinals, and after surviving seven grueling games in the 2013 conference finals, the Heat are poised to finish the Pacers a lot sooner this time.
In Game 4, it was LeBron James and Chris Bosh, not James and Wade, that dominated Indiana together. After Lance Stephenson called him out, James had 32 points and 10 rebounds while Stephenson only had one point in the first three quarters. What's more, Bosh woke up for the first time in this series, scoring Miami's first eight points and racking up 25 overall, while Roy Hibbert went back to sleep with zero points.
The Heat have been perfect in the NBA playoffs these last three years, although the Pacers have been one of their toughest foes. That hasn't been the case in their third matchup together, at least not since Miami rallied late in Game 2 at Indiana. Once the Pacers lost the home court they desperately wanted against the Heat all year, everything fell apart from there in Miami.
Since Game 1, there have been no answers for James, no matter how much Stephenson and the rest of the Pacers talk. Now that Bosh is playing like a member of the "Big Three" again, a third straight elimination at Miami's hands looks that much more inevitable for Indiana.
The Pacers skated by to this point in the NBA playoffs, despite numerous terrible games. They haven't been quite as embarrassing as they were at times against the Atlanta Hawks and Washington Wizards -- but as usual in the playoffs, the Heat have just been better.