Miami Heat extend series lead over the Pacers
LeBron James had 32 points and 10 rebounds and Chris Bosh added 25 points as 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 (local time).
Dwyane Wade scored 15 points for the Heat, who have won three of the first four games in the Eastern Conference finals.
They can win the East for a fourth straight season with a win at Indiana 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.
The Pacers won two elimination games in the first round against Atlanta, and need to win three more if their year-long plan of topping Miami is going to become reality.
The odds are obviously stacked against them. When holding a 3-1 lead, Miami are 8-0 in game fives over the past four post-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 his side to break through against the team that has ended the Pacers 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. "We're at that point."
The fight isn't over.
But it was awfully one-sided for long stretches of Game Four.
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 more 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 three-point play nine seconds later pushed the lead back to 12, and the Heat were moments away from a 3-1 lead.
It was the 74th playoff game where James had at least 25 points, five rebounds and five assists, passing Michael Jordan for the most in NBA history.
In the other conference final series, San Antonio takes a 2-1 lead to Oklahoma City on Tuesday (local time).