Jan 18, 2012, 8:35 PM EDT
One note we kind of glossed over from the Miami Heat’s dramatic comeback win over the Spurs Tuesday — Mike Miller is back.
The three-point specialist missed the start of the season due to a sports hernia but he was back running with the Heat on Tuesday night and went 6-of-6 from three in 15 minutes of play.
He helps the Heat in a lot of ways, starting with depth. Miller also spaces the floor with his shooting, makes good decisions on when to pass and plays better defense than he gets credit for.
But all of that is not the best thing his return brings to the Miami Heat, suggests Zach Lowe at Sports Illustrated. Rather, having Miller (with Shane Battier and James Jones) allows Miami to play LeBron James at the four.
The Heat’s offense reached another level last season with James at power forward, scoring a whopping 10 more points per 100 possessions on average than lineups with James at his traditional small forward spot – lineups that scored at an elite level to begin with. Miami’s defense slipped from elite to average with James at power forward, though the results here were all over the map, depending on which four teammates joined LeBron…
This was a powerful weapon for coach Erik Spoelstra, and one he used to great effect against Boston and Philadelphia during the playoffs before personnel issues forced him to pocket it against Chicago and Dallas.
In a discussion last week about the best power forward in the land, it was pretty much agreed by myself and Donny Marshall of CSNNE.com to think of LeBron as a three because when he plays the four he is the best there is at the position.
The NBA is a game of matchups, and a roster that lets Spoelstra move LeBron between the three and the four to get the better matchup makes the Heat that much harder to beat. And if you don’t think they are a tough enough matchup just ask the Spurs.
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