Chris Bosh got the Heat started. LeBron James took over in the second half.
And in the end, Miami moved to within one win of another Eastern Conference title.
James had 32 points and 10 rebounds, Bosh scored the game’s first eight points and finished with 25 — nearly matching his output from the first three games of the series combined — and the Heat grabbed control of the East finals by topping the Indiana Pacers, 102-90, in Game 4 for a 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven series.
Dwyane Wade had 15 points and Miami never trailed, leading by 23 at one point.
“We try to get better every single day, every single game,” James said. “When you do that and go out and play the type of game that you are capable of playing, you can be satisfied with the results. And that's what we've built over the years.”
Only the Lakers and Boston Celtics franchises have been to the NBA Finals in four straight seasons. The Heat now has three chances to join that club, starting with Game 5 at Indiana on Wednesday night.
“We got outplayed by the Heat,” Pacers Coach Frank Vogel said. “I wasn't disappointed in our fight. I was disappointed in the result.”
Paul George scored 23 points and David West had 20 points and 12 rebounds for the Pacers, who got 15 points from George Hill. But Lance Stephenson — who made news in the days between Games 3 and 4 by suggesting he was in James' head — was held to nine and 7-foot-2 center Roy Hibbert was scoreless in 22 minutes.
“I was trying to get into his head,” Stephenson said, referring to James. “I guess he stepped up and got the win. I can take the heat.”
Miami has won the last three games in the series, and going back to the point in Game 3 when the Heat trailed by 15, it has outscored the Pacers by 39 points in a span of about 6 1/2 quarters.
The Pacers won two elimination games in the first round against Atlanta, and need to win three more if their yearlong plan of topping Miami as kings of the East is going to become reality.
The odds are obviously stacked against them. When holding a 3-1 lead, Miami is 8-0 in Game 5s over the last four postseasons.
“We have a chance to play an NBA game on our home floor,” West said. “We are going to try to do something that's very tough.”
Bosh came out flying, and probably not coincidentally, the Heat finally had a good start.
“I told him he was going to have a great game,” James said. “We got off to a fast start because of him.”
Miami won the first quarter for the first time in the series, going up 27-19, helped in part by a late three-pointer from Shane Battier — with replays showing Vogel moving down the sideline toward the Heat forward as he shot from near the Indiana bench.