May 26, 2014, 8:28 PM EDT
The small-ball favoring Heat face repeated lineup decisions in their seemingly annual playoff series against the large Pacers. Should Miami go big to match up or go small to create mismatches?
In Game 4 of the Eastern Conference finals, the Heat opted to go smaller in their starting lineup – though their hands were forced when it came to altering their rotation.
Miami’s starting lineup – Mario Chalmers, Dwyane Wade LeBron James, Rashard Lewis and Chris Bosh – has played amazingly well, albeit in a small sample. In 61 regular-season minutes and three postseason minutes, that unit is +26.
The lineup would have led the NBA in both points scored and allowed per 100 possessions during the regular season.
- Offensive rating: 116.0
- Defensive rating: 93.0
- Net rating: 23.1
Don’t expect the Heat to maintain that elite production in a longer stretch – especially against the Pacers’ starters. This new rotation will bring a lot of questions.
How will Bosh handle covering Roy Hibbert for longer stretches? Who guards David West? Can Miami hide Lewis somewhere and use LeBron on West? How much will the Heat miss Chris Andersen’s size and toughness? What role will Udonis Haslem off the bench?
We’ll see shortly. This could work out to Miami’s advantage, but it will be an adjustment.
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