INDIANAPOLIS -- Chris Bosh noted the obvious after Miami’s dismantling of Indiana in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals: When the Heat’s reserves and role players perform at a high level, the team is tough to beat.
Miami experienced life on the other end of the spectrum in Game 4 on Tuesday, though it almost didn’t matter.
Indiana found answers to its defensive problems from two days ago to grind out a 99-92 win and and even the best-of-7 series at two games apiece.
Udonis Haslem and Bosh combined to score 32 points in Miami’s Game 3 win, but totaled just 13 points in Tuesday’s loss.
One role player — Mario Chalmers — nearly picked up the slack himself, but there was just one problem: He was only on the court for 29 minutes due to foul trouble.
“Very frustrating,” Chalmers said. “You try to stay out of foul trouble and stay on the floor but sometimes it just happens. You just have to play through that.”
Still, Chalmers finished with 20 points on 6-of-14 shooting, making all eight of his free-throw attempts. He had averaged 10 points during the first three games of the series.
“I was just trying to be more aggressive,” Chalmers said. “In the last two games I was trying to pick my spots and make some plays.”
In the first half Chalmers helped keep the Heat within striking distance, scoring 10 points. He picked up the slack for Bosh and Dwyane Wade, who combined to score nine in the first half.
If not for Chalmers, Indiana might have put the game away in the first half, building an 11-point lead before going into halftime ahead 48-47.
Outside of Chalmers, Miami didn’t get much from its reserves or role players.
Haslem was the surprise hero of the Game 3 win, scoring 17 points and missing just one of his nine field goal attempts. He was held to six on Tuesday.
Bosh scored 15 and made two three-pointers in Game 3, but finished with seven points and made just one field goal in Tuesday’s loss.
After scoring 32 points in the first three games of the series, forward Chris Anderson was scoreless in Game 4.
“They played with much more energy,” said Miami forward Shane Battier who scored four points in 17 minutes. “I thought we settled for more jump shots than we did in the last game.”
While the Heat scored a franchise record 70 points in the first half of Game 3’s win, they didn’t hit that plateau in Game 4 until early in the fourth quarter.
The same shots Miami made to create a blowout in Game 3 didn’t fall or weren’t even created in the offensive flow on Tuesday.
Miami shot 39 percent from the field in Game 4 after shooting 54.5 percent in Game 3.
“They just applied more pressure, and it’s something we have to adjust to and get past,” Chalmers said.