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Can Heat duplicate blueprint of Game 4? Don’t bet on it.

May 22, 2012, 4:52 PM EDT

Dwyane Wade Getty Images

Game 4 was what Heat fans expected this team to look like — LeBron James and Dwyane Wade were each an unstoppable force and played well off each other, the Heat played suffocating defense, and a role player (Mario Chalmers in the first half, Udonis Haslem in the second) stepped up.

But can they duplicate that at home for Game 5?

Don’t bet on it.

Miami may still win, but it’s going to be a different game. With the series tied 2-2, expect both teams to play with a sense of desperation. And since the teams have developed a real playoff distaste for each other, expect some physical play.

Tempo will be a key thing to watch — Miami wants to get back to more of their up-tempo offense. In part because Wade and LeBron are beasts in the open court, in part because they need to get buckets before Roy Hibbert sets up shop down low and changes everything. Miami talked about getting back to their space and pace offense, and even some of that would be welcome by coach Erik Spoelstra.

Something you can expect is the tough defense from both teams — these are two sides that try to get their offense out of defense and both have slapped on the clamps for stretches of this series. With everything on the line (and shooters a little tighter) look for a tight defensive game. If one side can get some easy buckets in transition it will be a huge boost (something that favors the Heat).

If the Pacers are going to win on the road they need to keep Hibbert out of foul trouble — when he sat in the third quarter of Game 4 the Heat went on their run to take control of the game. Look for the Heat to go at him and try to draw fouls, Hibbert has to avoid those and not pick up any stupid ones. Indy needs him on the court.

The Pacers also could use less chest bumping of opponents from Danny Granger and more efficient shooting from their leading scorer, who is hitting just 35 percent of his shots this series (granted, against some very good defenders).

We know the Heat are going to get a big game out of LeBron James (although to expect his ridiculous 40 point, 18 board, 9 assist game again may be asking too much). He just does that. The bigger issue is Dwyane Wade and his balky knee — he came up with a huge 30 points in Game 4 and with Chris Bosh still out they are going to need him to step up.

The Heat also need someone else to step up. In Game 4 Chalmers and Haslem played well for stretches, in Game 5 it has to be someone — Shane Battier, Mike Miller, anyone. Dexter Pittman even… okay, that’s not happening.

Game 5 is not going to look like Game 4. That was the outlier in this series. But if the outcome is the same, Miami will not care how they got there.

  1. heat256 - May 22, 2012 at 5:19 PM

    Even though the Big 3 all gave up some money to get guys like UD and Miller signed, that money may have been better spent on a wing who could create his own shot. One goes down, it is all that much harder. I still think they win the series, though the price they will pay may cost them in the ECF. I’d love to see them win only for the fact that when they won in 2006 I was overseas on business and never got to even see the game and missed out on that excitement. I’d love for James to win a title just so people will truly recognize what a gret player he is. Seeing him play on multiple occasions has left me in awe of his talent. he may not be the cold hard assassin Jordan was, but I don’t fault him for that. He is a different player and person. He shouldn’t be hated for that.

  2. 1972wasalongtimeago - May 22, 2012 at 5:24 PM

    What the hell was that artice about? Was you trying to contradict your own premise? Did you say the Heat may win, but if they do it won’t be the way they won in Game 4? Is that really what you’re saying?

    Dude, if the Heat win, it will be because LeBron and Wade played awesome, and because someone else contributed with some high percentage shooting. Just like Game 4.

    And if the Heat lose, it will be because the Pacers had a big advantage on the boards, because they shot and made a high % of 3s, because the Heat missed their FTs, and because Wade played like he just smoked crack a few hours before the game. In other words, just like Game 3.

    No other “blueprint” exists.

    See, this is why I usually read the headline and skip right to the comments.

    • reupjosh - May 22, 2012 at 5:29 PM

      Kudos on the “skip straight to the comments section.”

    • digitalpoo - May 22, 2012 at 11:01 PM

      Just finished watching the game…. Does Kurt actually consider himself a sportswriter?

    • southbeachtalent - May 22, 2012 at 11:18 PM

      At least he got the teams right.

  3. truthhurtstoo - May 22, 2012 at 5:41 PM

    The Pacers are Punks! Way too much mouth for a average team.

    • frooshiantee - May 22, 2012 at 5:47 PM

      “Average teams” aren’t 3rd in the east during the regular season, and taking 2 games away from Miami in the playoffs, including one IN Miami. If Wade calls your team out for celebrating too much, and Lebron throws an elbow at Granger’s face, I’m pretty sure you’re justified in talking trash.

      • kinggw - May 22, 2012 at 7:42 PM

        The Pacers are very average. Just because the Pacers finished 3rd in the East, doesnt mean they were much more than average. The majority of the season they were behind both the Sixers and the Magic in the standings. Both of those teams collapsed and the Pacers had a pretty soft schedule the last month of the season.

        Yes, they won a game in Miami that was gifted to them by the Heat. If they were as good as you claim them to be, tonight’s game would be a closeout affair for the Pacers. The Pacers were fortunate enough to catch a couple of teams with some major injury problems. They were able to get past the Magic, they wont be so lucky this time.

      • 6thsense79 - May 22, 2012 at 11:21 PM


        First we’ll need your definition of a great team, a good team, and an average team. For the most party just about every team that makes the playoffs in my humble opinion are above average. but you seem to have a different definition. Can you please share with us the charteristics of an “average” team?

  4. koloofai - May 22, 2012 at 5:58 PM

    Granger = fake tough guy

  5. canehouse - May 22, 2012 at 6:12 PM

    Going to be a fine night at the AAA… They’re handing out “White Hot” Band-aids to the fans tonight… they read UD40… Obviously in honor of Haslem and his bandage that is covering up his 9 stitches.

  6. xli2006 - May 22, 2012 at 9:10 PM

    Depends… Will the refs stick West and Hibbert with a dozen fouls to free up the post so they just run 1-4 Isolation all day long?

    Prob not.

  7. darienal - May 22, 2012 at 10:57 PM

    (looks at the final score) well….

  8. baseballfl28 - May 22, 2012 at 11:08 PM

    I guess they did win like in game four or even better

  9. edweird0 - May 22, 2012 at 11:17 PM

    So much for what you thought Kurt hahaha

  10. bleed4philly - May 23, 2012 at 2:05 AM

    Foot in mouth, head up arse… What are you talking about?

  11. emaimo80 - May 23, 2012 at 2:10 AM

    Heat are catching fire just in time!!!

  12. davidcl77 - May 23, 2012 at 6:41 AM

    Doesn’t matter if they win out in the East. The West champ, no matter who it is, will have no problem kicking that ass. I’m glad. Lebron, you’d better get going if you want to win those 8 titles you bragged about! Lol!!!!!!! Serves you right, jackass!!! Enjoy your summer!

  13. jcioffi1485 - May 23, 2012 at 7:45 AM

    Pacers just were beaten within an inch of their lives. Even Larry Bird said his team went soft. No Larry, your boys were just beaten with the buckle end of the belt

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