The Optimism of Realizing that the Heat Bucked Many Long-Term Trends While Winning Game 4

It has been well documented that LeBron James had a historically good night in Miami’s Game 4 win in Indiana, tallying 40 points 18 rebounds and 9 dimes. Nobody has notched totals that high in all three categories in a Playoff game since Elgin Baylor did so for the Lakers in 1961. But in that game, Los Angeles beat Detroit 120-102 in Game 1 of their opening-round series, so Elgin’s individual impact on the game was slightly less pronounced.

In the Heat’s 101-93 victory, for example, LeBron scored 39.6% of Miami’s points: a number he has eclipsed only twice this season. That, in addition to the fact that nobody has done so in 50 years, makes it not only unlikely that he matches those totals in all three categories, but unlikely that even he scores 40 points in a game again in this series.

The other stat totals are likely to decline as well.

In no game this year has James totaled more than his 27 combined assists and rebounds from yesterday. He also added two blocked shots, a total that he hasn’t surpassed in more than two and a half months months. The lone aspect of the King’s rule in Game 4 that Pacer fans should worry about were his zero three-point attempts. Last night was the first time in 21 games that James, a 33.1% career shooter from behind the arc, had failed to bail out the defense with at least one long ball, and if that continues for the rest of this series, Indiana could be in a bit of trouble. But the odds of all of these trends happening again in a single game is astronomical, and the Pacers still were in the game from start to finish.

So while the the Miami Heat may have won Game 4 in Indianapolis,it would appear that they caught lightning in a bottle.

And it isn’t just LeBron.

Dwayne Wade’s spectacular night was a bit overshadowed by his wing mate, but it is equally unrepeatable. The Heat guard grabbed 9 rebounds in Game 4 after only notching 11 previously in the entire series. He also managed 30 points in the final 31 minutes of this game after scoring 29 points in his previous 74 minutes of action. Six of those points came from behind the arc, matching the number of treys he had hit since April 10th.

In short, while Wade played a great game, a drop off is likely imminent for Game 5.

Udonis Haslem even got into the act, as he more than doubled the point production he had in the previous three games. Coming into action on Sunday, Haslem had scored only 6 points all series, and he surpassed that number with 8 points in the fourth quarter alone. His 14 points came on 5 made field goals, the most shots he had made in nearly 2 months. Some of this can be attributed to the fact that the Pacers, presumably sick of watching LeBron and Wade fillet them on offense, went to a “somebody else beat us” strategy. They changed their pick-and-roll defensive strategy to blitz the ball-handler (either James or Dwyane) with two and this left Haslem time to shoot an at-least-semi-open shot from the mid-range. Unexpectedly compared to his recent ability to shoot jumpers, he knocked them down.

Additionally, the Heat played their best game of the series while the Pacers struggled.

In Game 4, Roy Hibbert — for all intents and purposes the Pacers MVP this postseason — was limited to his lowest offensive rebound and total rebound marks for the series. Foul trouble sidelined him while Wade and James relentlessly attacked the rim. The Pacers as a whole couldn’t make a play on defense when they needed it most, resulting in Miami becoming the first team to eclipse the century mark in points against Indiana during the playoffs. The result was Indiana losing the battle of the paint, which is not surprising given the slashing ability of Wade and James and the foul trouble to the Pacers’ front court. But they were outscored by 18 points in the paint in this game (50-32), the exact total that they have been outscored in the paint this entire series. Adding more futility to the fire was the fact that the Pacers had nearly as many turnovers (15) as assists (17).

The game was ugly, but the loss only counts once.

With a few of the trends reverting back to their norms, Indiana has plenty of hope for Tuesday night.

Topics: Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, Miami Heat, Pacers Vs. Heat 2012 Playoffs, Pacers Vs. Heat 2012 Playoffs: Game 4, Roy Hibbert, Udonis Haslem

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  • Chris D.

    It is interesting–and heartening–to realize that it took one of the great tandem performances of all time for the Heat to pull ahead of the Pacers’ 1.5 squad (not quite the first squad, but not quite the second either). Even if the LBJ and D-Wade can muster up similar performance–and even if they can beat the Pacers–other teams, such as the Celtics or Spurs, are far too playoff experienced to make the same mistakes the Pacers did. KG would know when to put LBJ on his arse in the paint.

  • Money

    Lmao this is funny, lebron want reach 40 n 18 again not even 9 assist. Dwade wont either, but lebron can get 30/9/6, dwade’s numbers. Indy dny stand a chance if dwade grabs 7,8 boards. Is a shame Indy gets killed on boards by MIAMI lol. Then he said the heat played the best thy r capable of. They had the worse 1st quarter in game 4, then in any other playoffs since we got LBJ. Pacers should’ve had 35 in tht quarter. But thts 6 down and 10 to go
    HEATLES

  • little B

    Wow, thanks for that post Money, got me out of that slump I was in since yesterday afternoon. Haha. Bet the Miami fan support is proud of this comment.

  • little B

    I really don’t like to make fun of people who are not as smart as others because not all people got equal advantages in life, but when you come on and try to call someone out for something and laugh at their posts, you deserve what’s coming. Please tell me your in high school or younger. Even if you are a teenager, please copy and paste your post in word first then correct all of your countless mistakes and repost it so we can even understand your arguement. “Bashing” comments are just dumb and ignorant. No need to come on here ranting and raving. Post your thoughts and try to act like an adult. I feel sorry for any smart Heat fan out there that has to read comments that this fan posts all the time. Makes your fan and city look sad. 6 down 10 to go…keep that thinking in mind and you will be back to 16 to go before you know it.

  • little B

    @Soppe,
    I like the article and I think you’re right. Pacers were in the whole game besides Record numbers from Wade and James. Just as long as the Pacers dont let them keep putting up Record numbers, they should win this series.

  • Joe

    Both of them are going to be exhausted, and Thugs (Wade) is still injured (unless that was just an excuse for the Heat and after the win, there was no injury). The Pacers were not prepared for Thugs to play like this after the two previous games… however, there is no excuse for LeBum’s field day. All I can say is, these two will be exhausted when (there potentially if there is a game 7), have 3 games in 5 days-and at least over 120 minutes each.

    All of that said, it always looks nice on paper, as did their odds for game 3 until they played.

  • Pingback: By the Numbers: Some Surprising Series Stats | Eight Points, Nine Seconds

  • Tommy

    The heat needed a lot to win last game and just squeaked by, yet when they return home they will have the edge again and will get game 5! i wrote all about it here and how to bet it so come read and enjoy comment and subscribe! http://nbawagers.com/2012/05/the-dr-jekyll-and-mr-hyde-miami-heat/

  • NoLookPass

    What people should be scared of is this……

    2-of-19 for Shane Battier
    2-of-12 for James Jones
    4-of-12 for Mike Miller

    One of these 3 guys are going to go off for 10+ at some point this series.

  • Havoc

    @littleB
    You criticized @Money’s comments regarding the heat but failed to say anything about @Joe? Is it because he’s a pacer fan? You can’t with a straight face say he is not as immature as @Money for trying to demean Heat players by calling them thugs. @Joe – If anyone is a thug in this series its Danny Granger with his all of a sudden tough guy act getting in peoples faces. This is a surprising trend to me because I’ve followed Granger’s career a fair bit. If anyone has noticed, both Wade and James walk away whenever Granger run’s up to them becuase its obvious he just wants to get one of them tossed to make it a much easier series. In all honesty, this thing wouldn’t be as close if Bosh were available. It would have been 3-1 going to MIA for game 5. Then again if’s don’t matter in this game. Its a very entertaining 2 v 3 matchup and that’s all us as fans can hope for.

  • Joe B

    Great post. It is unlikely that both James and Wade will put up equal numbers, while it is more likely that the Pacers will put up better numbers. The amount of 3s taken in the first quarter, for me, spelled imminent doom–they abandoned the post early, which would have given them a 15+ advantage going into the 2nd half.

  • little B

    @Havoc
    Just was able to get back online and see the rests of the posts. I don’t like Joe’s post either. Calling people thugs and things like that are completely unneeded. Actually that word drove me nuts for years because first of all the Pacer’s were a bunch of Thugs 5 years ago, literally. Tinsley, Jackson, Artest, Harrison, Daniels, Williams…But then people continued to call them thugs even when the Pacers had Foster, Murphy, Dunleavy, Granger and Deaner for a couple years, drove me crazy. Lebron and James aren’t thugs at all. Thugs care about themselves more than their teams. Tinsley and Artest are perfect examples (involved in shooting and one well we know what he has done). Not where Joe was coming from on that but James and Wade are pretty clean cut guys. Granger, James, and Wade may act like their tough but they only care about winning and wouldn’t do anything to jeopardize their team from that.

    I apologize to Soppe for the conversation of his articles being about this and not about his article at all.

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