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Miami Heat bench needs to tap its reserves
OKLAHOMA CITY – Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra benched his bench against the Oklahoma City Thunder to open the NBA Finals.
Only forward Chris Bosh, still a reserve since returning from a lower abdominal strain, played consistent minutes in Miami’s 105-94 loss.
Spoelstra plans to change that in Game 2 today (9 p.m. ET, ABC), with a chance to steal home-court advantage still a reality:
“I’ll probably go a little bit deeper into the rotation, obviously, try to get the guys a little more rest. But we’re not making any excuses.”
Three reserves got in: Bosh (10 points), forward Mike Miller (two points in 10 minutes) and center Joel Anthony (zero in two minutes).
Forward James Jones didn’t play (unrevealed migraine headache). Guard Norris Cole, who gave quality minutes in the Eastern Conference finals vs. the Boston Celtics, sat out all game.
The Thunder got 19 points from four reserves.
Spoelstra treats his bench differently than how other teams do. He isn’t necessarily looking for scoring but needs them for defense, setting screens, getting rebounds and assists.
He also fluctuates how much he uses them. Against Boston in Game 7, Bosh played 31 minutes off the bench, and reserves Miller, Cole, Jones and forward Juwan Howard combined for eight minutes, 57 seconds.
By Jeff Zillgitt, USA TODAY
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