Bench Depth Continuing To Make An Impact For Miami Heat

By Shane Phillips

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The Atlanta Hawks aren’t the team they use to be. Once on the rise with stars like Joe Johnson and Josh Smith, Atlanta is a shell of its former self.

On paper, the Miami Heat looked like a shell of themselves Tuesday night. Dwyane Wade sat out as he continues to nurse his knees back to health, and LeBron James scored a season-low 13 points. Despite the pitfalls, Miami defeated Atlanta handily 104-88. It could have been quite the opposite considering the handicaps, but the Heat’s supporting cast proved that they are a force to be reckoned with.

Led by Ray Allen with 17 points, Miami’s bench contributed 45 points as well as nine assists from Norris Cole. Okay, it was only the Hawks, but Miami could have easily just rolled over and lost, especially with no Wade and a subpar performance from James. Spoelstra is right in stating after the game that Tuesday night’s performance from the reserves was encouraging, and this team is incredibly deep.

The Heat played 13 players, and 12 of them scored. When everyone is contributing, the “Big 3” can breathe a bit easier and grab some extra rest.

The victory over Atlanta shows that Spoelstra can rest members of the “Big 3” throughout the NBA season and not worry. Later on in the season, when players are tired and their legs need some extra rest, Spoelstra won’t be hesitant to turn to his reserves. I’ve said it before and I will say it again — this may be the best bench of the “Big 3” era and in Heat history. Tuesday night only reassured that.

Shane Phillips is a Miami Heat Writer for Follow Shane on Twitter @Smphil01, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.

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