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vs. Miami
Eastern Conference finals
Series: Miami leads 3-1
Game 1: Indiana 107, Miami 96
Game 2: Miami 87, Indiana 83
Game 3: Miami 99, Indiana 87
Game 4: Miami 102, Indiana 90
Wednesday: at Indiana, 8:30 p.m.
Friday: at Miami, 8:30 p.m. *
Monday: at Indiana, 8:30 p.m. *
* – if necessary
TV: All games on ESPN
Associated Press
Indiana’s David West, who scored 20 points and grabbed 12 rebounds, shows his weariness in the final minutes of Game 4 on Monday in Miami.
eastern conference finals

Heat pushes Pacers to the brink

James, Bosh help Miami go up 3-1

– LeBron James had 32 points and 10 rebounds, Chris Bosh added 25 points and the Miami Heat moved one win away from a return trip to the NBA Finals with a 102-90 win over the Indiana Pacers on Monday night.

Dwyane Wade scored 15 points for the Heat, which has won three of the first four games in the Eastern Conference finals.

The Heat can win the East for a fourth straight season with a victory in Indianapolis on Wednesday night.

Miami led wire-to-wire, opening up as much as a 23-point lead in the final quarter.

Paul George scored 23 points and David West added 20 points and 12 rebounds for the Pacers, who got 15 points from George Hill.

But Lance Stephenson was held to nine, and Roy Hibbert was scoreless in 22 minutes for Indiana.

The Pacers won two elimination games in the first round against Atlanta and need to win three more if their yearlong plan of topping Miami as kings of the East is going to become reality.

The odds are obviously stacked against them. When holding a 3-1 lead, Miami is 8-0 in Game 5s over the past four seasons.

Much as he did Sunday, Indiana coach Frank Vogel used the big brother/little brother analogy with his team, trying any way to urge the Pacers to break through against the team that has ended their season in each of the past two years.

“He’s got to make a decision at some point in his life, that no matter what, we’re not going to lose this fight anymore,” Vogel said, likening the Pacers to the little brother in that scenario.

“We’re at that point.”

The fight isn’t over.

But it was awfully one-sided for long stretches of Game 4.

“You can never get too high, you can never get too low in the postseason,” James said. “You’ve got to stay even-keeled. You got to try to get better every single day, every single game improve.

“When you do that and you go out and play the type of game that you’re capable of playing, you can be satisfied with the results and that’s what we’ve built over the years.”

Miami outscored Indiana 31-20 in the third quarter and increased the lead to 23 in the fourth before the Pacers used a 15-3 run to make things rather interesting. Stephenson had a layup with 3:20 left that would have gotten Indiana within nine, but it was waved off after he was called for fouling Wade on his way to the basket.

Stephenson scored with 1:31 left to make it 99-90, but James snuffed out any comeback hopes right there. His 3-point play nine seconds later pushed the lead back to 12, and the Heat was moments away from a 3-1 lead.

Miami was without Chris Andersen, inactive because of a bruised left thigh. The Heat also tweaked its starting lineup, with Rashard Lewis in and Udonis Haslem out.

“We have high-quality NBA professionals on our team that can sit all year and when their number is called they can come in and produce,” James said.

Bosh scored the game’s first eight points, making a pair of 3-pointers and ending a series-long funk. He had scored exactly nine points in each of the first three games of these East finals and was held under 10 points in each of his last seven playoff games against Indiana.

But he came out flying, and probably not coincidentally, the Heat finally had a good start.

“I felt that was going to happen today,” James said. “I told him he (was) going to have a great game, and we got off to a fast start because of him.”

They won the first quarter for the first time in the series, going up 27-19 and helped in part by a late 3-pointer from Shane Battier – with replays showing Vogel moved down the sideline toward the Heat forward as he shot from near the Indiana bench.

Nothing was to Indiana’s liking. Hibbert and Stephenson combined for zero points and six fouls in the half. The Heat didn’t have a turnover until the second quarter.