By John Schuhmann, NBA.com
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MIAMI – The Miami Heat are down a man (or a bird) for Game 4 of the Eastern Conference finals on Monday (8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN). Chris Andersen is on the inactive list with a left thigh contusion.
This is not a minor note. The Heat have been at their best in this series with Andersen on the floor. He’s a plus-28 (tied with Ray Allen for the series-high) in 70 minutes.
“This is a big-muscle series,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said before Game 3, “so we need what he brings to the table.”
In a related move, Rashard Lewis will get just his seventh start of the season in place of Udonis Haslem. That allows the Heat to use Haslem as the backup center behind Chris Bosh. But without Andersen, Miami loses its ability to play big much more than a few minutes, unless Spoelstra decides to dust off Greg Oden.
Bosh and Haslem are a minus-38 in just 34 minutes together in the series.