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Miami Heat aim to get defensive energy from new-look second unit
MIAMI – While the Heat starters were in a third-quarter malaise during their victory over Atlanta, forward Shane Battier turned to his new running mates on Miami’s second team and suggested they be ready to inject some energy with their defense.
Soon, Battier and center Joel Anthony left the bench and entered the game.
Two minutes later, point guard Norris Cole joined them. By the end of the quarter Monday night, the Heat had turned a two-point deficit into an eight-point lead.
“The advantage of not starting is you get a sense for what’s needed,” Battier said Tuesday. He has come off the bench in the last three games after serving as a starter since last season’s playoffs.
“We said to our crew on the bench, ‘When it’s our time to get in the game, let’s leave it out there and let’s turn the energy up and get the crowd into the game.’ We don’t need to make shots; we just need to go in and bring energy.”
The Heat’s tinkering with the rotation has entered Phase 2 this season, with coach Erik Spoelstra moving Battier to the second unit after he missed three games because of a knee injury and grouping him with Anthony and Cole.
The three typically are on the floor with LeBron James and possibly another bench player, such as Mike Miller or Ray Allen.
By Tom D’Angelo