If there is one area that the Miami Heat have faltered on in the era of the ‘Big 3,’ it has been rebounding.
Tonight, that weakness gets put to a big test as Miami faces the Minnesota Timberwolves at American Airlines Arena.
The game will feature two teams who are at the opposite ends of the rebounding spectrum early on in the 2012-13 NBA season. The Heat currently rank near the the bottom in that category at 29th. The Timberwolves, on the other hand, are one of the best rebounding teams in the league, ranking fourth in the category.
Minnesota gets its’ rebounding edge mainly due to the presence of Kevin Love, who has been among the best individual rebounders the NBA has seen in recent years.
Miami’s rebounding woes, though frustrating, should be expected. Rebounding is one of the game aspects the team gave up in exchange for a faster, undersized lineup formula that won them a championship last season. The team’s decision to make Chris Bosh a center and to make Shane Battier a starter at the beginning of the season further cemented their faith in the undersized formula. That rebounding liability has shone brightly throughout the season, though, as it has been a factor in the Heat’s frequent slow starts in games.
Miami has attempted to address the issue either by choice in reinserting Joel Anthony to the rotation or by being forced due to Battier being injured. Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra has shifted between Rashard Lewis and Udonis Haslem in replacing Battier in the starting lineup. Haslem has been used more largely in part to his rebounding prowess along with Lewis’s defense. He will likely get the call to start tonight.