Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra has a history of experimenting with his rotations and lineups in the regular season. A very important factor in Miami’s ongoing 20-game winning streak has been consistency. In order for a team to be consistent on a regular basis, every player has to feel comfortable with his role.
The Heat have been fortunate enough to avoid any serious injuries to key role players, which has allowed Spoelstra to find a functional rotation. Miami’s starting lineup–consisting of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Mario Chalmers, Chris Bosh and Udonis Haslem–has played the lion’s share of minutes for the NBA champions this season. But are there more effective lineups for the Heat?
With Haslem on the floor, the team naturally takes less three-point shots and free throws, but the starting lineup is overall very solid across the board, holding opponents to just 90 points per game.
The good thing about Miami’s roster is that it is so versatile. When the team needs points in bunches, there are lineups that can be pieced together to accomplish just that.
A five-man unit consisting of the big three, Chalmers and Ray Allen is Spoelstra’s sixth favorite lineup, but they put up some ridiculous numbers on the offensive end. They score 125 points per game, while outscoring the opposition by a remarkable 41.1 points. The five players together shoot 58.3 percent from the field, do a great job sharing the ball and, quite surprisingly, do a great job defensively.
Miami’s third most popular lineup consists of the big three, Allen and Shane Battier. This is quite often the closing lineup for the Heat, and naturally has a lower field goal percentage than the other two examples. Despite that, you can clearly see how Miami locks down on defense in the final minutes of a game. This unit holds the opposition to 39.2 field goal percentage.
Four out of Miami’s five most played lineups outscore their opposition by double digits, which proves just how adaptable the role players are. Spoelstra has managed to allocate the minutes in a great way, making sure all aspects of the game are always in balance.
Vytis is a Miami Heat and NBA columnist for RantSports. You can follow him on Twitter here: @VytisLasaitis