No Fourth Quarter Star Power For The Miami Heat
5 Players Who Have Been The Miami Heat’s New Closers
Turn on a few replays of the last three Miami Heat' games and you would most likely wonder if you were watching the NBA preseason. By the time your eyes wander to the fourth quarter you would notice Chris Bosh and LeBron James sitting in warm-ups next to Dwyane Wade in a nice suit.
You would also notice that the Heat were on their way to being up 16, 16 and 28 points with the Big Three only combining for four of the 36 minutes in the final quarters. That’s because the bench has been the ultimate relief while phasing out the star power.
"It's actually kind of getting scary, the depth we have," James said via the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, "and the confidence guys have."
Confidence that no one expected to come from a player like Rashard Lewis, who could barely get the tip of his shoes on the court last season. So it was quite a shock when he began the 2013-14 campaign as the first or second guy off the bench.
Gone were the garbage minutes for the man recovering from the same Ossa Tron shockwave treatment that Wade is recuperating from. Now, Lewis is out there doing little things like stretching the floor and making coach Erik Spoelstra catch flashbacks of less than happier times.
"He's able to perform much like the guy that used to torment us in Orlando," Spoelstra said. "We haven't forgotten. I think people forgot that he was a talent. This guy is a talent. He's performed at a high level for a long time when he was healthy. That's what you're seeing right now." (South Florida Sun-Sentinel)
You’re also seeing a bench that is flourishing without even a peep at Greg Oden’s worth. Which is why we put together the next five slides to showcase the Heat’s fourth quarter closers.
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5. The Comeback Kid
Rashard Lewis is back after years of injures and being on the verge of retirement. And his impact has come in more ways than just his 42 percent three-point shooting.
To the delight of Lewis, he and his trapping buddy, Michael Beasley, have been very disruptive to other offenses trying to run the pick and role.
"For me, I think a couple years ago, I would have enjoyed the 3-pointers the most,” Lewis said to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. “On this team, I would have to go with the defensive play, getting the stop and steal. . . I would have to roll with the defensive play."
4. The Bird
Chris Andersen’s impact may not always show up in the stat line, but Birdman’s energy and hustle are usually the catalyst for the Heat’s bench squad.
3. The Hall of Famer
Miami’s first man off the bench is averaging 11 points per game and shooting over 40 percent from both the field and the three. Ray Allen is even putting the ball on the floor like back in his Milwaukee Bucks days.
2. The Kid
Third year point guard, Norris Cole, has been averaging 7.5 points, four assists and a steal as the Heat’s calming effect off the bench.
1. The Spark Plug
Michael Beasley is often called on to give Miami instant offense when the stars are out. This is why he has crept his way into the rotation, providing almost a point per minute at his 10.9 average.