In game 4, we saw what the Miami Heat dreamed about when they assembled the big three. Dwyane Wade forgot about the knee problems, and the return to small-ball by Erik Spoelstra did the rest, as LeBron James and Chris Bosh also enjoyed their best games of the NBA finals, making sure they get to play at home at least one more time before the end of this series.
When the big three combined to score 85 points, it’s really quite impossible to beat them. The San Antonio Spurs can win games with their big three doing badly while role players pick up the slack. That’s a little bit different for the Miami Heat, and playing without Udonis Haslem (only 10 minutes) and Chris Andersen (not at all) provided lineups of shooters, and finally found a way to open up the paint, while certain shots simply started dropping for all three of them.
In the end? Another resounding result, 109-93. It seems that this series is a very close one, but the games themselves end up being blowouts, or close to that. LeBron James was the one who led the scoring for Miami with 33 points, but there was no doubt who was the player providing the spark on both ends of the floor to put Miami back at 2-2, and snatching back home court advantage, not to mention the momentum.
Dwyane Wade finished with 32 points. 6 rebounds, 4 assists and 6 steals. This makes Wade only the second player in NBA finals history with at least 30 points and 6 assists (Isaiah Thomas in 1988 is the other), and is the 5th player in NBA Finals history to record at least 30 points, 5 rebounds and 5 steals, joining Allen Iverson, Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen and Julius Erving. Furthermore, no one since Byron Scott in 1989 has had a 30 points, 5 rebounds, 5 steals game in the playoffs.
This is what the Heat have been waiting for all playoffs, also in the Indiana series. As Chris Bosh referred to it, not leaving LeBron James on an island. The Heat were gambling like mad on defense, but were a lot more aggressive in their charges across the passing lanes, while Chris Bosh did an amazing job in the paint. He finished with 20 points in the game on 8-of-14 from the field, but his 13 rebounds and two huge blocks in the second half were just as important.
James? He scored 33 points, finally finding a way into the paint, as the Heat forced 18 turnovers compared to their nine. They scored 23 points off those turnovers, resulting in a series high 50 points in the paint. The big three combined to score 44 points in the paint, double their average from the first three games, including 20 for Wade, who also did it with an impressive 10-of-12 from that range.
Is this the game that turns everything around? Each games seems to be like that, but it was the one that showed a certain lineup, or scheme, for the Heat, with Ray Allen playing 33 minutes (scoring 14 points) and Mike Miller getting the start. Miller didn’t score, but the presence of four players who can hit shots from the outside opened up the Spurs’ defense, helping Miami find their way inside again and again, hitting 52.5% of their field goal attempts. More in numbers? In the 1st half, the Spurs contested 67% of the Heat’s field goal attempts from 10-plus feet. It led to better drives from the Heat, shooting a series-high 61.3% off drives in Game 4.
It was Spoelstra’s turn to adjust, and so he did. The defense gambled more, leading to more possessions in transitions. But the change that came on the court began with Dwyane Wade, who looked like the kind of player he was before the wear & tear of his style wore him down. On nights when the three best players on the floor are all on the same team, it’s impossible to lose.