Miami Heat could be changing lineups again
by Jeff Zillgitt, USA TODAY Sports
In moments like these for the Miami Heat – when a victory is absolutely necessary – Coach Erik Spoelstra falls back on two ideas.
One, his players play their best when the lights are the brightest. It is paramount for LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh to have strong performances in Game 6 if the Heat want to extend the NBA Finals to a seventh game against the San Antonio Spurs.
Two, Spoelstra says “everything is on the table” in a must-win game, and down 3-2 to the Spurs, there is no bigger must-win than Tuesday’s game (9 p.m. ET, ABC). That means almost players are available to play and starting lineup changes are possible.
Spoelstra’s lineup changes and rotations have fluctuated wildly throughout the playoffs. Power forwards Udonis Haslem and Chris Andersen played more minutes earlier in the playoffs. Mike Miller picked up more minutes near the end of the Eastern Conference finals against the Indiana Pacers and has started the last two games in place of Haslem against the San Antonio Spurs.
And now, it might be time for Spoelstra to again tinker with his starting lineup, maybe. Put Haslem back in and move Miller back to the bench?
“We’ll see,” he said.
Miller gave the Heat a boost in the first three games of the series, making nine of 10 three-pointers. Spoelstra put him in the starting lineup for Game 4 after the Heat lost, and Miller drew enough attention on the perimeter, making room for LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh inside and the Heat won.
Now it might be time to move Haslem, who started 78 games in the regular season and playoffs, back into the lineup. The Spurs have done an outstanding job matching up some of their bigger players such as Kawhi Leonard and Boris Diaw on James and Wade. It allows the Spurs to play big and small at the same time because of Leonard’s and Diaw’s offensive and defensive versatility.
Haslem’s size could force the Spurs to realign, which could free up the Heat’s scorers. Spoelstra could also give more minutes to Andersen, … [For more on Miami Heat could be changing lineups again, click here.]