After a 97-93 victory in Game 2 that gave them home-court advantage in the series, thePacers were riding high in the Eastern Conference Finals. However, their positive momentum was ground to a halt in Game 3, when the Heat blew them off the court in a 114-96 beating.
Now, with the specter of going back to Miami down 3-1 looming, Indiana is facing a must-win scenario in Game 4. It's all hands on deck for Frank Vogel and the Pacers, who have to figure out a counter to some of the adjustments Erik Spoelstra made on Sunday, most notably playing LeBron James in the post.
Here are three questions and viewing information for Tuesday's game:
Game time: 8:30 p.m. ET
TV info: TNT
Odds: Heat by -2.5, according to Odds Shark
1) Do the Pacers send help on LeBron's post-ups?
For the first time in the series, LeBron made a living on the block in Game 3, using his 265-plus-pound frame to establish deep post positions on Paul George and score over the top of him. LeBron had 12 points off post-ups on Sunday, points which allowed Miami to get out to a huge lead in the second quarter from which Indiana never came back.
LeBron isn't getting any smaller and George isn't getting any bigger, so the Pacers will have to make an adjustment. The problem against Miami is there aren't many options to send help from. Indiana's defense is built around protecting the paint and the three-point line, but they will have to concede something in Game 4.
LeBron James is not good at hockey
2) Can Miami's shooters knock down open shots?
Perhaps the most surprising performance in Game 3 came from Udonis Haslem, who had 17 points on 8-of-9 shooting, with most of them coming off open mid-range jumpers. If Haslem can punish Roy Hibbert for leaving him open on the perimeter, the Pacers could be in for another long night defensively.
Haslem isn't the only Miami player who has benefited from Indiana's desire to pack the paint. Chris Bosh, Ray Allen, Norris Cole and Shane Battier went 6-of-13 from 3-point range on Sunday. The Heat will need them to continue making those shots, which creates space for LeBron to use on the block.
3) Will Paul George have a bounce-back game?
Indiana has made its mark as a defensive-minded team, but there's only so much you can do stop the high-powered Miami offense. To win this series, the Pacers will have to score a lot of points. And without much scoring punch from their bench, they have no one who can make up for a lackluster night from their best player.
After averaging 24.5 points in the first two games of the Eastern Conference Finals, George had only 13 in Game 3. He was 3-of-10 from the field with five turnovers, although he did also have eight assists. If George isn't getting 20 to 25 points in Game 4, it's hard to see Indiana having enough offense to even the series.
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