O'Neal powered past Miami for 37 points, a postseason
career-high, while Artest added 28, giving Indiana the usual
one-two punch that led the Pacers to the NBA's best regular-season
They only lacked one thing -- help. No other Indiana player
scored more than seven points, no other starter managed more than
four, and that meant the Pacers were no match for the balanced and
unflappable Miami Heat in a 100-88 loss Wednesday night.
With six players scoring in double figures, the Heat evened the
best-of-seven Eastern Conference semifinal series at two games
apiece. Game 5 is Saturday at Indiana; Game 6 will be Tuesday at
"O'Neal and Artest were incredible," Heat coach Stan Van Gundy said. "But nobody else really got anything."
Once O'Neal got anywhere near the low block, Miami could offer little more than token resistance. He made 14 of 24 shots and
scored 26 points -- four below his previous postseason career high --
in the first half, and tacked on six rebounds.
"Offense isn't the issue. Defense is," O'Neal said. "You can
break it down any way you want to, 88 points should be enough to
win the game."
Artest had his best game of the series, shooting 12-for-22 with
eight rebounds. Still, he said he didn't do enough -- even after he,
too, set a postseason career scoring high.
"They knew where the ball was going," Artest said. "All in
all, I didn't share the ball. Things probably would have been a
little bit different if I moved the ball a little bit."
Yet with Miami getting contributions from almost everyone,
Indiana's two-man show had no chance.
Lamar Odom had 22 points, Caron Butler 21 and Dwyane Wade 20 for Miami, which broke the 100-point mark for the first time in 39
postseason games, an NBA record. Rafer Alston and Eddie Jones each
had 11 points and Brian Grant added 10 for the Heat, who shot 51.4
Take away O'Neal and Artest, and the rest of the Pacers shot
"We don't care who scores big points," Alston said. "We don't
mind who shoots the ball. We share the ball. We just care about
getting lots of help and lots of support defensively."
Al Harrington and Reggie Miller, who averaged a combined 23.3 points per game in the regular season, totaled only seven on
Wednesday. Miller, who's averaged 22 points in his playoff career,
was a non-factor in both games on Miami's home floor; he was
1-for-2 in Game 3, then 0-for-5 in Game 4.
Jamaal Tinsley, nursing a sore left ankle, managed only four
points -- nearly eight below his series average -- and was ejected
with 2:09 remaining after flagrantly fouling Jones. He had earlier
picked up a technical foul.
Indiana's 61 wins were the best in the NBA this season, and the
Pacers won their first six playoff games by double-digit margins.
Now, nothing looks easy or certain.
"It's not a crisis," Miller said. "But we are facing
adversity right now."