Thunder Don’t Care Who Starts For Heat

OKLAHOMA CITY – Game 1 of the 2012 NBA Finals will tip off at 9:07 p.m. ET on Tuesday. About a half hour before that, we’ll learn who’s starting for the Miami Heat.

Heat coach Erik Spoelstra changed his starting lineup twice in the conference finals, but did not start Chris Bosh in any of his three games back from injury. Spoelstra has said that Bosh is the Heat’s most important player, so one would think that Bosh will start Game 1.

If he does, Spoelstra could start him next to Udonis Haslem or Shane Battier. Or Spoelstra could stick with the starting lineup that has worked pretty well (with LeBron James, Battier and Haslem up front) and continue to bring Bosh off the bench.

That’s a lot for Oklahoma City Thunder coach Scott Brooks to think about. But Brooks isn’t going to stress over it.

“It’s a little bit of a difference,” Brooks said after Thunder shootaround Tuesday morning, “but it doesn’t matter. Serge [Ibaka] is going to guard either one [Bosh or Battier], whoever they start at that four.

“We’ve been playing against different lineups all year. Serge has done a good job and I give him a lot of credit. We talked about, going into this season, him being able to guard stretch fours. And he’s done a great job at that. So put Battier out there, and I think Serge is in a good position to do a good job with him.”

Like the Heat, the Thunder have the ability to play big or small. Their two most-used lineups in the postseason have had Ibaka and Kendrick Perkins up front. But their next three most-used lineups have had just one big man on the floor. And those small lineups have been ridiculously good offensively, combining to score almost 125 points per 100 possessions over 129 playoff minutes.

“We have an ability to create baskets with movement when we have an extra ball-handler on the floor,” Brooks said. “But we feel confident going both ways. With our big lineups, we’ve won a lot of games. With our small lineups, we’ve won a lot of games. But I think the best way we win games is using a combination of them both.”

This series could very well be a 336-minute chess match. And the Heat may need to adjust to the Thunder lineups as much as OKC needs to adjust to theirs.

“We’ve got a good team and when we’re in tune defensively, I think no matter what they throw at us, we’ll be ready for it,” Thabo Sefolosha said. “I think the main thing will be to focus on us tonight. We know they’ve got a very talented team with a lot of players that can do different things on the floor. But I think the main thing will be to focus on what we do.”

22 Comments

  1. Miami heat says:

    So, what the issue is here is haters hating on Miami as usual. Lebron is a superstar .. Get over it. Most of you just want to see Lebron lose ..And Oklahoma, youre city is nothing compared to Miami. So either way you put it, the Heat have this. Point blank. You’re boring lol. Seriously.

    • noname says:

      bimbo’s and beaches dont win championships.

      (this response is as silly as your comments about a city you probably never been while we are here tryin to discuss basketball)

  2. Game one of the NBA finals was a special night that will be remembered. One of the most anticipated finals in many years lived up to the hype of a first game. Role players in the beginning of the game for the Heat played well and at the end of the game role players for the Thunder stepped up. This is going to be great. Follow @marcusfelton, go to my blog:basketball dialogue.wordpress.com

  3. Agudo says:

    hate, hate, hate, hate, hate. lakers dynasty is over, get over it!

  4. I predict a KD injury this series that will shake up the outcome. Quote me on that.

  5. fdjlakers1 says:

    After what OKC did to the Lakers, I wanted the Spurs to win the WCF. But now, against Miami, I want to see KD & OKC take it all in 4 games!

    OKC: Deny Miami even ONE win!

  6. Reblogged this on Basketball Dialogue and commented:
    The Thunder will play hard and execute regardless of who starts for the Miami Heat. This attributes to the confidence the coaching staff has in the players and what they can do on the floor offensively and defensively. Scott Brooks is a very good coach with a good staff that has probably mapped out every possible scenario already on paper and is prepared for what ever starting lineup the Heat will dish out. Interesting to see how it plays out tonight.

  7. mj says:

    @spiller barring major injury of course

  8. Reblogged this on Sanderson Wrestling and commented:
    The OKC Thunder will play hard and execute regardless of who starts for the Miami Heat. It shows confidence in his players that Brooks and his staff would make the statement.

  9. The Heat and Thunder will be a great series potentially and will be exciting to watch. Follow my blog @ http://basketballdialogue.wordpress.com/. Its very new and I am a student and doing this for the first time but would love some feedback, comments and general opinions on the topics presented. Thanks

  10. Spiller says:

    Ibaka is great. Before his career is over he will break Duncans most blocks in the postseson record! He’s got like 3 BPG and he’s only 22!

  11. lakerfan says:

    for sure sefolosha willl guard lebron..and bwestbrooks will guard wade..ibaka to bosh..nor more no less…okc 4-0

    • Miami heat says:

      So, what the issue is here is haters hating on Miami as usual. Lebron is a superstar .. Get over it. Most of you just want to see Lebron lose ..And Oklahoma, youre city is nothing compared to Miami. So either way you put it, the Heat have this. Point blank. You’re boring lol. Seriously. Hater hater haters !! Ock is so borrinnggggg

      • Brad T. says:

        Dude, who cares if the city of OK is boring, the TEAM IS AWESOME

        And OF COURSE the haters be hatin’ — why shouldn’t they? If you’re a Boston fan, you hate the Lakers, if you are a fan of any team in the NBA but the heat, you hate the Heat

  12. John From OKC says:

    I’m glad to see that Ibaka will get plenty of playing time. Ibaka is my favorite Thunder player, and has multiple All-Star appearances in his future I believe. Possibly more than Westbrook despite the fact that most non-Oklahomans know more about him than about Serge.

    GO THUNDER!

  13. GAME1EXPERT says:

    Brooks doesn’t care who the Heat play, he has his defense set. He doesn’t care about the celebrity matchups, he knows his lineup. Westbrook will guard Chalmers (and Cole for the 13 seconds per game he plays), Thabo and Harden will guard Wade, Brooks will have to keep the KD vs LeBron matchup going, Ibaka will guard Bosh, and Perkins will guard Haslem. Spoelstra will try to keep Chalmers on Westbrook and get wrecked. Spoelstra is one of the work in-game adjusters in the league so that gives Brooks an edge. The Thunder D will outplay the Heat D and the Thunder will take the O’Brian trophy home in a game 6 in Miami.