The open looks Udonis Haslem and Chris Bosh took advantage of to help the Heat win Game 3 disappeared in Game 4 Tuesday night, and so has Miami’s lead over Indiana in the Eastern Conference finals.
Miami’s Erik Spoelstra won the coaching battle with the Pacers’ Frank Vogel in Game 3, using mobile post players Haslem and Bosh primarily as jump shooters to keep them away from the bigger, brawnier Roy Hibbert and David West.
Vogel countered Tuesday with a simple adjustment: putting Hibbert and West in better position to step out and contest shots without sacrificing rebounding. And it worked, eliminating Miami’s normally excellent floor spacing and making the Heat’s offense appear unsettled.
Hibbert finished with 23 points and 12 rebounds to lead Indiana to a 99-92 victory that tied the series at two games apiece and helped the Pacers regain a little swagger heading into a pivotal Game 5 on Thursday night in Miami.
In Game 3, Haslem and Bosh combined to make 14 of 19 shots and score 32 points, mostly on jumpers. This time, they were 4 for 11 and combined for 13 points.
‘‘We were a lot more attentive to it,’’ West said. ‘‘We had our antennas up. We didn’t allow them to space. We were there on catch a lot of times. That’s more of us just being locked in. We were just ourselves tonight.’’
The Heat shot 39 percent and never found a consistent rhythm.
Indiana also re-established its dominance inside. The Pacers shot 50 percent, outrebounded the Heat, 49-30, and outscored them, 50-32, in the paint. They relentlessly attacked the basket, continually won the battle for loose balls, dominated the glass and turned the tables on Miami yet again.
The Pacers got the Heat in foul trouble and answered every challenge Miami posed in a physical game that had bodies flying, tempers flaring, and LeBron James stunned after fouling out of a playoff game for only the second time in his career. The four-time MVP finished with 24 points but was only 8 of 18 from the field.
Bobcats hire Clifford as coach
The Charlotte Bobcats hired longtime NBA assistant coach Steve Clifford as their head coach. An assistant coach with the Lakers this season, Clifford becomes the Bobcats’ sixth coach since the 2006-07 season. He replaces Mike Dunlap, who was fired after just one season . . . Trail Blazers guard Wesley Matthews had an arthroscopic procedure on his left elbow.