The Miami Heat have fallen behind the Indiana Pacers two games to one in their Eastern Conference semifinals series. The Heat lost to the Pacers 94-75 in Game 3, falling apart entirely in the third quarter and playing even worse in the fourth.
In the second-worst playoff game in his career, Dwyane Wade scored just 5 points on a putrid 2 of 13 shooting, adding 5 turnovers for good measure. Wade did not just shoot poorly, he also started yelling at Heat coach Erik Spoelstra during the third quarter. LeBron James scored 22 points, but only 6 of those came in the second half.
George Hill led the Pacers with 20 points, while Roy Hibbert added 19 points and 18 rebounds. Four different Pacers scored in double figures. Indiana outrebounded Miami for the third straight game, this time by a margin of 52-36.
The only member of the Heat to earn his game check was Mario Chalmers, who scored 25 points on 10 of 15 shooting, adding 6 rebounds and 5 assists. Chalmers hit the only 3-pointer he attempted, while the rest of the team went 3 of 19 from downtown.
In what has become a recurring theme in this series, Miami started slow out of the gate. Indiana jumped out to an early 11-2 lead as the Heat shot 1 for 9 to start the game and looked lost on offense.
However, the Heat quickly bounced back, going on a 24-6 run to close the quarter with a 26-17 lead. James scored 11 points in the first quarter, while Chalmers had eight.
It all went downhill from there. By halftime, the Pacers had tied the game at 43, and Wade was still scoreless, the first time in 96 career playoff games that he failed to score in the first half.
The third quarter went just as poorly for the Heat as the third quarter of Game 2 did. Miami shot just 4 of 17 during the quarter, including 1 of 9 from three-point range. Indiana opened up a 14-point lead.
The only thing more infuriating to Heat fans than Miami's play was the TV work of ESPN analyst Hubie Brown. Sounding like a Pacers season ticket holder at times, Brown yelled "There ya go!" multiple times after big plays by the Pacers, making it all the more comical when his partner, Mike Tirico, said late in the fourth quarter, "We don't care who wins games."
Indiana never relented, outscoring Miami in the fourth quarter and forcing Spoelstra to relent and pull his starters with three minutes to go. The wheels have fallen off for the Heat since losing Chris Bosh to an abdominal injury in Game 1. They now have to win three of their next four games if they want to advance to the Eastern Conference finals.
Game 4 tips off at 3:30 on Sunday afternoon in Indianapolis.