The Miami Heat were extremely depleted on Saturday night against the Charlotte Bobcats with Mario Chalmers suspended, Ray Allen out with the flu, and Udonis Haslem recovering from a back injury. If you couple that with Chris Bosh’s early foul trouble and Dwyane Wade‘s inefficient and limited play, this game had the makings of a potential upset. None of that mattered, however, as LeBron James went for 30 points, seven assists, and four rebounds, helping to lead the Heat to their seventh win of the season. The biggest surprise of the night, though, came from the humongous boost the supporting cast provided down the stretch of the fourth quarter.
“I don’t know when the last time that has happened,” Bosh said. “But (the reserves) kept the lead at a nice distance. We were rooting for them and encouraging them because we need everybody — one through 15 — to not only raise their play but sustain it.” (ESPN)
The true depth of this team is not discussed as often as it should be. This was the first game that the talent level of the full roster was on display. With so many top players out, the lower end of the bench got an opportunity to shine. Of the 29 points scored in the fourth quarter, 23 of them were from reserve players Michael Beasley, Chris Andersen, Rashard Lewis and Roger Mason Jr.
Erik Spoelstra has been tickering with the rotations since the start of the regular season, but this is all in an effort to obtain quantifiable data that the Heat coaching staff can use when determining the most efficient lineups throughout the playoffs. With so much depth at Spoelstra’s disposal, it will be interesting to see what the final nine-man rotation ends up looking as we enter the playoffs in April.