National Basketball Association
Indiana vs Miami
When: 6:30 PM ET, Monday, August 24, 2020
Where: The Field House, Orlando, Florida
The Miami Heat will attempt to sweep a playoff series from the Indiana Pacers for the first time in their head-to-head history on Monday in Game 4 of their Eastern Conference first-round clash in the NBA bubble near Orlando.
In taking a commanding 3-0 lead in the best-of-seven series, the Heat have dominated most aspects of the games, leading to a 10-point average margin of victory.
Miami's 124-115 win in Game 3 on Saturday was heavily impacted by free-throw shooting. The Heat went to the line 52 times and made 43, whereas the Pacers attempted just 28 foul shots and made 21.
Both coaches noted the disparity in their postgame comments. Only one had an explanation.
"I can't explain that," Pacers coach Nate McMillan insisted. "I mean, 52 free throws is ridiculous. They had 24 at the half, (Jimmy) Butler shoots 20 of them. This is the playoffs. I can't explain it."
Meanwhile, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra claimed the parade to the charity stripe was a part of his team's game plan.
"That helps you control the pace and the tenor of the game," Spoelstra explained. "So when they would go on runs and gain some enthusiasm, Jimmy would find a way or Bam (Adebayo) or whoever would find a way to get to the free-throw line. That just helps you settle things. That's a great skill that we don't take for granted.
"In a playoff game, to be able to have 20 free-throw attempts (by Butler) -- and those were all collisions. It's not as if he's flopping his way to the line. He's putting his body in there and drawing contact and making you have to make the call."
With every team having played three playoff games through Saturday, Miami led all clubs with 35.0 free-throw attempts per contrast. The Pacers had 23.3.
Another stripe behind which the Heat have excelled has been the 3-point line. While they've made 14.7 treys per game on 42.7-percent accuracy, second best in the league, the Pacers have shot 37.4 percent on just 11.3 attempts, the fourth fewest among all teams.
The Heat have ridden balanced scoring to their success, with Butler (24.3), Goran Dragic (22.7), Tyler Herro (16.7), Adebayo (15.3) and Duncan Robinson (15.0) all averaging 15 or more points per game.
Robinson has been the biggest surprise, tying with Dragic for the series lead in 3-pointers (11) while shooting 55.0 percent from deep and 56.5 percent overall.
At the other end of the floor, while the Heat have successfully held T.J. Warren to 19.7 points per game, Pacers guard Malcolm Brogdon has come up big, averaging a team-best 24.3 points while also finding time to lead all clubs in assists with 33 through three games.
Miami needs just one more win to record its fourth straight postseason series win over Indiana since 2012, although none of the previous three has occurred in fewer than six games.
If the Pacers can extend this series to six, it's possible they could get star forward Domantas Sabonis back from his plantar fasciitis issue.
Sabonis returned to the bubble over the weekend and has entered quarantine, assuring he will not be able to play Monday.
--Field Level Media
Stats and Records