The Miami Heat were happy to welcome Udonis Haslem, Mario Chalmers and Ray Allen back on Tuesday night against the Atlanta Hawks. Even though they had won their last three games without Haslem and Allen, their return allowed Miami to rest Dwyane Wade.
After offseason knee surgery, the Heat are trying to limit the amount of back to back games Wade plays this season. He played in his first back to back on Friday and Saturday and was unable to finish the Saturday game. Since the Heat have a lot of depth on their bench, resting Wade will allow him to be fresh for the postseason and keep everyone in rhythm.
On Tuesday, James Jones got his first start of the season and finished the game with seven points. He was one of nine Heat players to score at least six points, including all five starters. Nobody on the team scored more than 19 points and LeBron James finished with only 13.
With speculation that James staying with the Heat depends on the health of Wade, a win like this shows that may not be a factor at all. Chris Bosh is still one of the top 20 players in the league and has proven that he can step up and be a superstar when either Wade or James is not in the game. He has yet to become comfortable as a third option and may need to become the No. 2 option to keep Wade fresh.
By beating a very good Hawks team by 16 without Wade, the Heat can feel confident in getting a top two seed in the East even if Wade only plays 55-60 games this year. Allen got the bulk of the minutes at shooting guard and scored 17 points, Bosh led the team with 19 points and Chalmers contributed 14.
There is no team in the league with the amount of talent that the Heat have from top to bottom. Even though Erik Spoelstra likes to keep a nine-man rotation, he may need to adjust things this season to keep everybody fresh and interested.