For all of the Miami Heat's much-touted invincibility, something must be said for the way Indiana -- specifically, David West and Roy Hibbert -- has controlled the paint through the four games of the Eastern Conference finals. But it also shouldn't come as a surprise, as Miami has ranked dead last in the NBA in rebounding this season. With the series tied up 2-2, the big, bad Heat head home in a bind, and perhaps a tad humbled, as well.
Chris Bosh represents a double-edged sword for Miami head coach Erik Spoelstra in facing the Pacers -- and in a way that he didn't against Milwaukee or Chicago. Offensively, Bosh's ability to space the floor cannot be overstated. This season, he shot a career-best 53 percent from 16 to 23 feet, per Hoopdata.com. He is highly proficient as a pick-and-pop man and can usually force opposing bigs away from the basket. But as a rebounder, Bosh has been exposed against West and Hibbert, who have amassed 82 rebounds in the series thus far.
And it's not just Bosh alone who is under-performing on the glass. Udonis Haslem, Chris Andersen, Shane Battier and Bosh have combined for a mere 59 rebounds -- this coming on the heels of Bosh's worst rebounding average of his career. Spoelstra can try to mitigate the problem by going with a more traditional lineup and keeping Bosh at the four spot, but with Dwyane Wade struggling, a decrease in offense becomes a legitimate concern.
In some respects, this is the perfect storm. The Pacers' entire ecosystem is built on toughness. They are the league's best rebounding team and, as a consequence, can overcome frigid shooting nights. Game 4 offers a perfect example: On a night when Indiana converted just 3-14 of its 3-point attempts, Ray Allen led Miami on the glass and the Pacers won the overall battle 49-30.
"That's always our game," head coach Frank Vogel told ESPN. "Kill the offensive glass."
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