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NBA: Pacers take Game 4, knot series at 2

NBA

LeBron James guards Paul George on Tuesday in Game 4 of the NBA Eastern Conference Finals.

The Indiana Pacers jumped out to a quick lead in Game 4 of the NBA Eastern Conference Finals and held on through the end to pick up a 99:92 win in the Bankers Life Fieldhouse to draw even in the series two games all. LeBron James fouled out with a minute to play just after dropping in a triple to pull the Heat to within two. After his departure the only club to score was the Pacers, giving them the win and an even series as they head back to Miami for Game 5. It was the first game that James has fouled out of this season and only the second time that he’s fouled out of a contest in the post-season in his career.

Indiana dominated the key stat categories such as outrebounding the Heat 49-30; outshooting them 35 of 70 (50.0%), compared to 30 of 77 (39.0%) for Miami; outscoring them inside 50-32.

We’re mentally tough. Not one guy in that locker room didn’t believe we were going to win this game tonight. … We know they’re the champs. They’re one of the best teams in the NBA right now. We know we’re going to be fighting an uphill battle. We’re never going to give up. We’re relentless. All those guys in [the locker room], they believe we can win.
— Roy Hibbert

The Pacers scored the first 11 points of the contest, George Hill tallying seven in the first two minutes. James countered with seven of his own to help cut the margin to five. A six point run by the Heat shortly after gave Miami the lead 16:17. Indiana came back with a five-point run to regain the lead and then held it to the buzzer to head into the second frame up 26:22.

Over the next four and a half minutes of play Indiana went on an 8:3 run to build a nine-point advantage, 34:25. Miami ended the half on a 5:13 run to send the clubs into the break with Indiana up 48:47.

NBA

Tyler Hansbrough hauls in a rebound against Miami.

Miami put up nine unanswered early in the third to go up six, 54:60. Immediately after the Pacers dropped in 10 straight, including seven from David West, to get back up 64:60. Miami closed the gap to one, but the Pacers hit the last six in the third 10, going up 77:70 with 12 to play.

James opened the fourth with a jumper, but Ian Mahinmi put in a tip and Roy Hibbert got two of his team-high 23 on a hook in the paint to put the Pacers up nine, 81:72. Mario Chalmers hit a pair of singles for the Heat, starting a 2:14 run that gave the Heat a three-point advantage with six minutes to play. Paul George completed a three-point play putting in a lay-up, drawing James’ fourth foul, and sinking the free throw to tie the score at 86. Allen hit the cords with a long-ball to put the Heat back up three, but the Pacers countered with eight to go up five, 94:89, with a minute and a half on the clock. James knocked down a triple to cut the margin to a deuce, but Lance Stephenson picked up his 20th point on a jumper with just over a minute left to give Indiana a four-point margin, 96:92. James headed for the bench when he was whistled for his sixth foul. From there the Heat wouldn’t score again, securing the Pacers’ second win of the series.

In the playoffs, on the road, you’re up by three, handful of minutes to go. Again, the way we are, we pride ourselves in closing out games. And we weren’t able to.
— Miami coach Erik Spoelstra

The clubs will now head back to Miami for Game 5 on Thursday, then will return to Indianapolis on Saturday for Game 6. If a Game 7 is necessary, they’ll head to Miami and suit up on Monday.

Hibbert as team-high with 23 points and 12 rebounds, Stephenson added 20, Hill added 19 points and six assists, West hit a 14P/12R double/double, and George tallied 12 points and 8 rebounds.

James was game-high with 24, Chalmers sank 20, Dwyane Wade scored 16 and dished off 6 assists, Allen contributed 11 points and 7 rebounds off the bench.

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