The challenge Wednesday night took Shane Battier back to the heavy lifting, with Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin the assignment, just as Monday delivered the oversized matchup against the Detroit Pistons' Greg Monroe.

But after Saturday's quality defensive effort against New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony, the question is whether Battier could yet return to his wing-defender identity for the Miami Heat.

"Instinctually, my instincts now are a power forward," said Battier, who has been slotted almost exclusively into such a role the past two seasons, with the rare perimeter challenges now coming against teams that have turned to small ball, such as the Knicks. "You lose it because you don't use it.

"When I was a perimeter defender, and at one point I was a second-team All-NBA defender, my instincts were on the perimeter. And so it's just a matter of repetition. And so I would say that my instincts aren't as sharp on the perimeter. But they're much sharper as a power forward."

Yet after the Oklahoma City Thunder found success against the Heat last week by playing smaller, Battier could find himself without a defensive choice when it comes to additional challenges against wings.

"It's not about relearning," he said. "Your instincts come back more when you get more reps. Against Carmelo, I felt my technique wasn't very good, to be honest with you. It was more just work my tail off and I was able to make his touches hard."

To a degree, the Heat have lacked a quality perimeter stopper to ease that burden on LeBron James, especially against wings who are more forward than guard. Battier said he certainly would accept such a challenge, but approaches it a bit differently than in his heyday in those matchups against Kobe Bryant.