Heat notebook

Miami Heat needs to hit the boards harder

WEB VOTE What is the key for the Heat to beat the Pacers in the Eastern Conference finals?


The Heat, at times, has downplayed concerns about its rebounding, noting — as Shane Battier previously asserted — that “winning the turnover battle is the more important” indicator of Miami’s success.

But after watching his team again get pounded on the boards in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference finals, coach Erik Spoelstra made this very clear Wednesday:

“We’ve never said we can get pummeled on the glass. That is not a winning formula for us. We have to do better. We have to be more committed without any excuses and just get it done. That will be our focus in Game 5.”

After outrebounding Miami on Tuesday by a 49-30 margin (a game in which the Heat committed just six turnovers), the Pacers hold a plus-40 advantage on the boards in this series. Including the team’s three regular-season meetings, Indiana has outrebounded Miami by 84, an average of 12 per game.

This, too, is telling: Pacers center Roy Hibbert has outrebounded Chris Bosh 48-13 in this playoff series. And Hibbert, who scored just 11.9 per game during the regular season, has averaged 22.7 points in the series compared with Bosh’s 14.0.

Hibbert and Dallas’ Dirk Nowitzki (in the 2011 Finals) are the only players who have posted three consecutive 20-point, 10-rebound games in the playoffs against Miami in the Big 3 era.

“The guy is making layups,” Dwyane Wade said. “He’s the biggest guy on the court. That’s the kind of impact he should have.”

But Spoelstra said of defending Hibbert: “We’ve got to do more. There’s no excuses.”

• Another indicator of Hibbert’s impact: According to ESPN, LeBron James has driven to the basket 18 times with Hibbert on the court in this series and has five points on 1-for-3 shooting on those 18 plays. He passed 11 times. With Hibbert off the court, James has driven to the basket 10 times and made five of six shots.

This and that

• Spoelstra said he did not use Norris Cole or any point guard for 6:39 of the second half Tuesday because he wanted to give more minutes to Ray Allen, who played less in the first half than Spoelstra generally prefers. Allen shot 4 for 13 and is now 9 for 29 in the series.

• James shot 1 for 6 on post-ups in Game 4 after shooting 5 for 7 in Game 3. Asked why James didn’t operate out of the post as much in Game 4 as the previous game, Spoelstra said: “You saw about the same amount — you just didn’t see the efficiency. The attention to detail wasn’t the same.”

• None of Bosh’s six shots in Game 4 were within 10 feet of the basket, and even though the Heat likes what he offers on the perimeter, Spoelstra said: “We need to be attentive to make sure we’re getting him in places he can be aggressive in the paint.”

• James, who fouled out with 56 seconds left on a questionable offensive foul call, said he did not agree with the call. “I was going to set a screen,” he said. “ Lance Stephenson actually ran into me. There were a couple calls I didn’t feel like were personal fouls on me.”

• Wade, averaging 16.8 points in this series, has gone 10 games in a row without scoring 20 points — the longest stretch of his career.

He shot just 5 for 15 and committed a key late turnover in Game 4, but Spoelstra said Wednesday: “He’s proven himself time and time again. When there’s adversity, that’s when he is going to be there the most.”

• Only once during the regular season (at Memphis) did the Heat shoot worse than it did in Game 4, when Miami closed at 39 percent from the field. The Heat shot 1 for 9 in the final 5:12 of the game.

Bosh said after the game that he expects no issues with an ankle injury that forced him to leave briefly in the second half. The Heat did not practice Wednesday.

Barry Jackson

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