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Rashard Lewis becoming key fourth contributor for Miami Heat

Jun 9, 2014, 8:46 AM EDT

2014 NBA Finals - Game One Getty Images

SAN ANTONIO — Rashard Lewis has been on the big stage before — he dropped 34 points (plus had 11 rebounds and 7 assists) in the NBA Finals as a member of the Orlando Magic.

But that was five years ago. That was a very different Rashard Lewis. The Rashard Lewis of 2014 could barely get off the Heat bench much of the season. He looked to be one of those Heat veteran gambles that didn’t pay off. He didn’t figure in the Heat’s playoff plans…

Until Erik Spoelstra started him at the four to space out the Pacers in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals. It worked.

And it has continued to work in the Finals against the Spurs.

Lewis had 14 points on 5-of-9 shooting, 3-of-7 from three in the Heat’s Game 2 win. Nobody really saw this coming, but Lewis has taken over the role Mike Miller did for the Heat last year — not in terms of role within in the offense, but in terms of being a trusted fourth scorer and someone who can space the floor with threes.

“Rashard has been huge for us ever since he’s been inserted into our starting lineup, from the Indiana series,” LeBron James said. “He’s been in this position before. He’s been to the Finals with the Orlando Magic. He’s been in huge playoff games, and his experience and ability to knock down shots helps us out a lot. It spreads the floor for us, and every time he catches the ball, we tell him just to shoot it. Don’t think about nothing else besides shooting the ball, and we live with his results.”

Lewis spaces the floor and pulls a potential rim protecting big out of the paint. He’s a pressure release valve, one the Heat have gone to a few times this series.

What’s impressive is that he was ready to go when called upon.

“Rashard at times this year wasn’t playing, but he kept himself ready,” Spoelstra said. “And you can’t just step into an environment if you’re not putting in hours and hours of time behind the scenes.”

Lewis, at age 34, has accepted his role on this Heat team.

And that could be key to the Heat getting a three-peat for Pat Riley.

PBT Extra: Who has upper hand in NBA Finals now?

  1. worldbfree4me - Jun 9, 2014 at 8:59 AM

    I concur!

  2. nard100 - Jun 9, 2014 at 9:14 AM

    The BIG 4?! Could be going forward.

  3. miamiHeatlesnotBeatles - Jun 9, 2014 at 9:17 AM

    I love the proverbial “stretch 4 position in MIAMI”. Mike Miller, Shane Battier, and Rashard Lewis have all filled in that role perfectly. This also allows Chris Bosh to operate at the proverbial “stretch 5″.

    • pbtunpaidwriter - Jun 9, 2014 at 9:48 AM

      Agree but Miller was never a 4, he was always a 2 or 3.

      • miamiHeatlesnotBeatles - Jun 9, 2014 at 10:22 AM

        Uhhhhh…he started at the “stretch 4″ Game 4 in the Finals last year and played there for the rest of the series.

      • miamiHeatlesnotBeatles - Jun 9, 2014 at 11:59 AM

        Maybe LBJ was the 4 in the game, but not on paper. According to the starting lineup Mike Miller was the “4”.

    • pbtunpaidwriter - Jun 9, 2014 at 9:48 AM

      Agree but Miller was never a 4, he was always a 2 or 3.

      • pbtunpaidwriter - Jun 9, 2014 at 10:46 AM

        LBJ was the 4. Always. Period.

  4. pbtunpaidwriter - Jun 9, 2014 at 9:38 AM

    People forget how good Lewis was in his prime. Him and Ray Allen are the original splash bros.

    Dude was (still is when given minutes) straight automatic. I love his shot too, looks like a slingshot but its so pure.

  5. rrhoe - Jun 9, 2014 at 9:59 AM

    Good to see Lewis contributing and not just riding the backs of others for rings. I think more teams will be in the market for former starters with scoring ability to bring off the bench,can help the teams and prolong their careers if they can make the adjustment to not starting.

  6. ProBasketballPundit - Jun 9, 2014 at 10:11 AM

    Two weeks ago Rashard Lewis couldn’t hit the water if he fell out of a boat. Now he’s draining 3’s in the NBA Finals. I talked a lot of crap about him… but I don’t take it back. If he needs to kill the Spurs to prove haters like me wrong, so be it.

    • antistratfordian - Jun 9, 2014 at 2:49 PM

      Sure, but a player like Lewis doesn’t actually have to make his threes for him to do his job well on the Heat. Miami’s offense relies on his reputation more than his made shots. This is probably why he could do what he did two weeks ago and play 42 minutes, shoot 0-6 from three, score 0 points, and still end up +35.

      • ProBasketballPundit - Jun 9, 2014 at 4:32 PM

        Rashard’s playing some nice defense too. Last night Timmy tried to post him up a couple times but Rashard didn’t give an inch.

      • antistratfordian - Jun 9, 2014 at 6:54 PM

        Yeah, I started to notice that in the last series. Rashard basically said that he’s just trying to make a difference wherever he can (no doubt taking a cue from Bosh). Too bad he didn’t have that same mentality when he was younger.

  7. fm31970 - Jun 9, 2014 at 10:49 AM

    So, Ray Allen got bumped to the fifth option on the Heat? Ouch.

    • longtallsam - Jun 9, 2014 at 11:59 AM

      I would still take Allen over Lewis. Ray is much more dependable. I believe Ray played about 33 minutes last night.

      • 1heatedtoombrayduh - Jun 9, 2014 at 12:33 PM

        I would just ride the hot hand

    • antistratfordian - Jun 9, 2014 at 3:08 PM

      I wouldn’t say that. The Heat do not have any designated options after James, Wade and Bosh.

      But Ray Allen’s primary responsibility is to force defenders to make “the impossible decision” while on the Heat’s closing squad in the 4th. He does his job beautifully.

  8. robigd - Jun 9, 2014 at 12:33 PM

    It always seems to be a scrub on the Heat giving the Spurs problems, whether it be Battier, Mike Miller, and now Lewis.

    Is there anything more frustrating as an opposing fan than seeing guys of this caliber get hot with some swagger?

    • robigd - Jun 9, 2014 at 1:02 PM

      Chris Andersen making a reverse layup ranks right up there.

  9. pbtunpaidwriter - Jun 9, 2014 at 2:57 PM

    Lol kids nowadays calling players scrubs. These guys are very very good.

    So disrespectful.

  10. turnmymicup - Jun 10, 2014 at 12:14 AM

    Pat Riley does it again.

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