Heat can’t handle Roy Hibbert, drop Game 4 to Pacers

What happened: The Indiana Pacers aren’t going away.
After it looked as if the Miami Heat might take control of the Eastern Conferenc finals, the Pacers responded with a 99-92 win Tuesday night at Bankers Life Fieldhouse to tie the series 2-2.
After trailing 89-86 with five minutes remaining, the Pacers closed the game with a 13-3 spurt.
Center Roy Hibbert led the Pacers with 23 points and had 12 rebounds and guard Lance Stephenson had 20. Forward LeBron James led the Heat with 24 points and guard Mario Chalmers had 20.
James fouled out with 56 seconds remaining. It marked the first time James has fouled out since June 3, 2012, last year’s East finals against Boston, and just the second time ever the playoffs.
Indiana looked to be in trouble after being walloped 114-96 at home in Sunday’s Game 3. But the Pacers, who outrebounded Miami 49-30, were able to bounce back.
The turning point: Trailing 89-86 with five minutes left, it looked as if the Pacers might have blown the game.
Indiana had led 81-72 before the Heat went on a 17-5 run. But then it was time for a Pacers spurt of their own.
Indiana reeled off eight straight points to take a 94-89 lead. Hibbert had five of them.
The difference maker: The Heat couldn’t handle Hibbert inside. The 7-foot-2 center shot 10 of 16. Of his 12 rebounds, six were offensive and six defensive.
Hibbert saved his best for last. He scored seven key fourth-quarter points.
What it means: While the San Antonio Spurs are resting in preparation for the June 6 start of the NBA Finals, the Heat will be playing a long series.
The Spurs locked up the West berth in the finals on Monday. The earliest the East finals now can end is Saturday. If it goes seven games, it won’t end until Monday.
What’s next: Game 5 of the series is at 8:30 p.m. Thursday at AmericanAirlines Arena.

Chris Tomasson can be reached at christomasson@hotmail.com

or on Twitter @christomasson.