Who can Erik Spoelstra trust? Who, from his bench players, can the Heat coach assume will usually give him good work for extended minutes? James Jones? There's one. But who beyond that? Mario Chalmers? He has played clearly above average in just three of 11 playoff games. Udonis Haslem would be first on that list if he hadn't missed more than five months. Mike Miller and Heat management thought Miller would be, too. Perhaps that changes in Game 2 on Wednesday, especially for Haslem. All they can do is hope. "You can only do so much in practice," said Haslem, who has played seven minutes (four in garbage time) in three games since returning from November foot surgery. "For me to take that next step, I have to get minutes." Miller, limited to 39 postseason minutes, said, "Obviously, I'm not accustomed to it. … Everybody wants to play more. There are only a few people on this team that don't need any more minutes." Spoelstra said Miller would be playing more if healthy and "the same about Udonis." But Miller said his left thumb — which will require offseason surgery — is not affecting his shot (he's 2 for 11 in postseason) or his play: "It's sore, but it's not going to cause me any problems. Basketball is a rhythm sport, especially shooting. Right now, I just don't have one. Hopefully, I'll have an opportunity to." Has the limited role made him down? "It can, but you have to be positive," said Miller, who began the season sidelined with right thumb surgery and had career-low averages in points (5.6), field goal percentage (40.1) and minutes (20.4, in 41 games). He has called this his most frustrating NBA season, saying, "I try to be aggressive during those three minutes" or so that he plays, adding: "That's the only way to hopefully stay on the floor." Spoelstra calls Miller "a very good defender, a very good rebounder." That might help now, considering Chicago has outrebounded Miami all four meetings. Giving Miller a few of the minutes allotted to point guards and using Dwyane Wade more at point guard, is one option.
Haslem, Miller hungry for more minutes
Miami Herald | May 18