Change tends to be a gradual process for the Miami Heat, calculated, rarely rushed, seldom spontaneous. Based on the magnitude of Thursday's Game 4 rout of the San Antonio Spurs, as well as Friday's tone of coach Erik Spoelstra in the wake of that 109-93 romp, expect the Heat's new lineup to be the same in Sunday's Game 5 of these NBA Finals, which now stand tied 2-2. While swingman Mike Miller offered a negligible statistical impact in moving into the first five in place of power forward Udonis Haslem, Spoelstra said he was pleased with the overall payoff. "It was about as impactful a zero¿for¿one game as you can have in the Finals," Spoelstra said of his 3-point specialist attempting only one shot in Game 4, going scoreless, with one rebound and two assists in his 21 minutes. "And Mike knows what he brings onto the table for us, so many things on both ends of the court. And each series is different. It presents its own challenges. This we feel is the best move for now against the Spurs. "But Mike does provide spacing, whether he's shooting the three or not. And defensively, his ability to do multiple things with us is key. By contrast, Haslem offered solid per-minute rebound numbers off the bench, with five in his 10 minutes, part of the Heat's 41-36 overall advantage on the boards. Spoelstra said he is aware such a lineup action tends to lead to an opposing reaction, such as when Spurs coach Gregg Popovich opened with center Tiago Splitter against Heat guard Dwyane Wade and then quickly countered with 3-point specialist Gary Neal, who added three more 3-pointers in Game 4 to his series collection.
Small ball again provides big boost for Heat
Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel | Jun 15