NBA Playoffs 2013: Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals is a Must-Win for the Indiana Pacers

Never mind Lebron James and Dwayne Wade; you knew the Indiana Pacers were in for a long night in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals when Udonis Haslem was making every jump shot he took early in the game. Before the night was up, Haslem had scored 17 points on a torrid 8-9 shooting clip.Yes, this is the same Haslem that averaged 3.9 points per game during the 2012-2103 NBA season.

Miami Heat power forward Udonis Haslem (40) surprised the Indiana Pacers by scoring 17 points in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

Haslem was hardly the only member of the Heat with a hot hand. Chris Bosh hit two early 3-pointers on his way to 15 points. Mario Chalmers scored 14 points while only shooting six times from the field. And then there was Chris “Birdman” Anderson coming off the bench to score 9 points on 4-4 shooting in only 22 minutes of action. And Ray Allen contributing two more threes.

Needless to say, the Heat easily took the game 114-96 and the series lead, 2-1. The Pacers didn’t play their best game, but they didn’t play anywhere near their worst either. On a night such as that one, the Heat were just better.

Which leaves a lot of questions in the minds of the Pacers’ team and fans about whether or not they are as far along as they’d like to be. As in, when the Heat’s supporting cast is as good as it was on Sunday, do the Pacers have any chance at all in winning this series? Or would any team (read: San Antonio Spurs) for that matter?

Bob Kravitz wrote in the Indianapolis Star, “(The Heat’s) best is better than the Pacers’ best. Which might tell the ultimate story of this series.”

He also rightly pointed out that Game 3 may very well end up being the best game the Heat play in the whole series, so there’s no reason to despair necessarily. The Pacers have rebounded from losses quite well so far in the 2013 NBA Playoffs. But as anyone who watched Game 3 knows, this Miami Heat team isn’t the Atlanta Hawks or the New York Knicks. And there is plenty of reason for concern.

The two teams square up for Game 4 in Indianapolis tonight at 8:30 p.m. Eastern Time.

Topics: Bob Kravitz, Chris Anderson, Chris Bosh, Eastern Conference Finals, Indiana Pacers, Indianapolis Star, LeBron James, Udonis Haslem

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