Do Heat need to go deeper?


VIDEO: Press Conference: Erik Spoelstra

SAN ANTONIO – The Miami Heat went nine deep in Game 1 of The Finals on Thursday. Given the conditions, no Miami player logged 34 minutes or more. But a day later, Dwyane Wade suggested that they may need more minutes from their bench in Game 2 on Sunday (8 p.m. ET, ABC), so that they don’t suffer another late collapse. The Heat led by seven early in the fourth quarter on Thursday, but were outscored 31-9 in the final 9 1/2 minutes.

“Obviously we’re going to have to use our depth a little more,” Wade said. “We got to go a little deeper into our bench. This time of the year you can’t leave anything to chance. I look forward to us using more guys next game, keep guys fresher.

“I feel part of our downfall in that game was mental and physical fatigue down the stretch. You know, rotations and things that we normally do wasn’t done last night. It wasn’t from not having the will or the want to do it.

“So we got to be a little smarter, we got to go a little deeper into our depth so we are fresher and have the guys out on the floor at the end that we want and need out there.”

The air conditioning at the AT&T Center is working again, so we won’t have those same circumstances again. And unless the Heat are dealing with foul trouble, nine is typically as deep as they go in a playoff game. Either Wade or LeBron James is on the floor at all times, so there’s no room for a five-man second unit.

But Heat coach Erik Spoelstra is never afraid to make changes. He’s had 11 different guys in the rotation at one point or another in this postseason. That list includes James Jones and Udonis Haslem, who sat in Game 1, but who he could turn to on Sunday.

James is always lobbying for Jones to get more minutes. He even did so in his Facebook chat on Saturday. Jones obviously provides more floor spacing for James and Wade.

Spoelstra would turn to Haslem for defense. And given how well the Spurs shot in the fourth quarter of Game 1 and how well (and easily) Tim Duncan and Tiago Splitter shot all night, defense is obviously a concern.

But the efficiency of the Spurs’ bigs wasn’t necessarily about how well the Heat’s bigs played defense. Those layups were more about a lack of pressure on the ball and slow rotations from the weak side. Neither Duncan nor Splitter were just punishing Miami in the post. They were catching the ball on the move and benefiting from the work of their teammates.

“There was a lot of defensive breakdowns,” Haslem said Saturday. “Not to say they can’t go one on one, but we had a lot of defensive breakdowns and we gave a lot of layups up. It wasn’t really them just throwing the ball in the paint and those guys just pounding on us.”

The Spurs did outrebound the Heat 39-29, but that was because Miami missed a lot more shots (41) than San Antonio did (28). The Spurs grabbed just five offensive rebounds. Nothing from that game really said that the Heat need to play bigger.

But, if Spoelstra wants to try it, he doesn’t necessarily have to turn to Haslem. He could just increase the minutes of Chris Bosh and Chris Andersen, who played just three minutes together on Thursday.

That pair has had some success at times in these playoffs. They were a plus-15 together in a three-point win in Game 2 of the Conference finals and are a plus-1 overall in 75 minutes together in the postseason. Bosh and Haslem, meanwhile, have been an awful combination. The Heat have been outscored by 57 points in 89 minutes with the two on the floor together.

17 Comments

  1. No clippers,go warriors says:

    Heat in 7 games.

  2. Ivoine says:

    Wishful thinking!!! Just remember the Greatest Of All Times is still playing, so there is plenty hope. I say Miami Heat will Three Peat

  3. GO MIAMI HEAT says:

    I HOPE MIAMI HEAT would win! VIVA!!!

  4. 3peat says:

    The Miami Heat needed to explore and utilize their bench from before the all star brk in the regular season. They always boast how the guys in the bench remain game ready and are professionals. However, while this may be the case for the likes of jones, haslem, lewis, beasely, there’s a level game readiness and confidence that comes with actually getting minutes and not being a professional bench warmer. These mins from the bench would have allowed the rotation to be deeper, more confident, more productive, and allow Spo to rely less on lbj. The effects of carrying this team, w\o dwade for the majority of the season is now taking its toll at the most pivotal of times. I guess Spo prefer to ride the young horses til they die or cramp up. Unlike Pop, a true coach who understands minute management, despite the age of his superstars. Wade had great minute management, but what about the king?

  5. Nbaologist says:

    They don’t need more shooting, they have ray Allen! Yeah he went cold in game one but how often does that happen. Miami should stop looking for excuses because they obviously possess the better team with better athletes. But what they lack is heart, they won those last 2 championships strictly out of talent. The spurs win by playing with an actual system, and after last year I think Pop refined the system to counter Miamis talent.

  6. alex davis says:

    “Don’t Panic” carries all the advise, the Miami Heat need. Its one game and we had them for most of the game. Miami usually finds a way to be the Spurs, in close games. Let’s play closer! Don’t CHANGE S7IT!!!

  7. Miami Heat Fan says:

    I still believe Coach Spo. Let’s just wait and watch the adjustment he will make tonight’s game 2.

  8. mark says:

    James Jones can SHOOT . Why on earth is he not playing??

  9. Tomas Banze says:

    Go spurs!

  10. LBJKIN6JAMES says:

    Why doesn’t Spoelstra use Beasley? … I know the Heat regret getting rid of Mike Miller right now ..

  11. cp10 says:

    Sounds like DWade is at odds w/ Coach Spo (grin). I’ll give Coach Spo and his coaches the benefit of the doubt but w/ such talent as Beasley and Jones not getting minutes, I’d personally work them into some kind of regular rotation; then again there is the core Identity of the team and the fact that I don’t know what I’m talking about. Hey, you can always bring Juwan Howard back in for what that’s worth.

    • No Regrets says:

      Well their problem was on defence, so I don’t see how Jones and Beasley would help, perhaps by giving a few more minutes of rest? On the other hand, Miami did miss a lot of open 3 pointers, so perhaps Jones would give them more consistent shooting. But he would be killed on the 4 by SA. One problem Miami has is that the stretch 4 doesn’t work with SA. On the other hand, they seem to be able to get into the paint easily enough against the slow SA bigs. It’ll e interesting to see what happens. But I still think Miami’s main problem was their defence. Coach Spo better figure out something soon, instead of just looking confident, because he might lose this championship before he knows it.

  12. mee(a)t says:

    I want Douglas to get some minutes…he’s at least aggressive when it comes to defense..he’s Norris Cole who can’t score basically.

  13. Cesar says:

    The Heat needs not to go deeper anymore with their brand of play as they’ve played exceptionally well during the last outing, except that the San Antonio Spurs have a potent weapon in their arsenal for having a mentor like coach Greg Popovich who managed to put into a state of hypnosis and transform all of his key players into a ferocious animals in the playing field.

  14. Gilbs says:

    Miami Heat will win game 2.