Heading into the Eastern Conference Semifinals, the Miami Heat looked like heavy favorites not just to beat the Indiana Pacers, but to sweep through the Eastern Conference in the 2012 NBA Playoffs en route to their second consecutive NBA Finals appearance. But after an injury to Chris Bosh and two straight clunkers by Dwyane Wade, including his 2-for-13, five-point, five-turnover night in a 94-75 loss in Thursday night's Game 3, the Heat look like a team about to thud to Earth.
Roy Hibbert took full advantage of Miami's Bosh-free frontcourt and decimated the Heat, scoring 19 points and pulling down a career-high 18 rebounds. He also had five blocks, and anchored an Indiana attack that got four players (Hibbert, Danny Granger, George Hill and David West) in double figures and built a lead that stretched to 21 points late in the fourth quarter, inspiring Erik Spoelstra to empty his bench and admit defeat with just under three minutes to go.
2012 NBA MVP LeBron James, the only member of Miami's fearsome triad that had even a decent night, still needed 22 shots to get his 22 points, and had just three assists. And the only Heat player who had a good game? Mario Chalmers, who had 25 points, six rebounds, and five assists.
If he's the Heat's best player in Sunday's Game 4, the Heat may be playing with their backs to the wall in Miami for Game 5.