The game could become a test of Miami’s recent adjustments made to address defense and rebounding.
The Jazz feature a loaded front court tandem of Al Jefferson, Paul Milsap, Derrick Favors, and Enes Kanter. That presents a similar scenario that the Heat faced in last season’s Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Indiana Pacers. It was in that series that Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra started to use the undersized lineup featuring Shane Battier at the power forward position which ultimately led to a championship.
One reason for the adjustment then was the loss of Chris Bosh to an abdominal strain injury. Miami might have to do it again as Bosh has been ruled out with the flu tonight.
Losing Bosh might have made Spoelstra start Joel Anthony in his place and keep Udonis Haslem in the power forward spot. Instead he has chosen to move Haslem to center and reinsert Battier to the starting lineup. Either decision would still leave the Heat more undersized against the Jazz than with Bosh in the lineup.
Bosh’s absence could also open the door for either Dexter Pittman or Rashard Lewis to get minutes. Whichever one of the two gets the benefit will likely depend on how the game develops. Should Miami need to bang inside, it will be Pittman. Should Miami need size with outside shooting, it will be Lewis.