Adjustments key for Heat, Spurs in Game 5

Adjustments key for Heat, Spurs in Game 5
June 14, 2013, 1:45 pm
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SAN ANTONIO — The Miami Heat made an adjustment before Game 4 to put Mike Miller into the starting lineup.

"It was something we felt we needed to do against this team, for this game," said Miami coach Erik Spoelstra.

The San Antonio Spurs tried to resist adjusting to that Miami tweak.

That lasted oh, 47 seconds into the game with the Spurs having little choice but to downsize its lineup when 7-foot Tiago Splitter found himself matched up against Miami's Dwyane Wade.

You can imagine Spurs coach Gregg Popovich seeing this and immediately having the same thought that most of us had.

This can't be good.

So out went Splitter, and in came Gary Neal and maybe more to the point, one of many significant adjustments made by both teams.

Look for more of the same leading up to Sunday's Game 5 matchup now that the series is tied at two games apiece.

The addition of Miller to the starting lineup meant that Chris Bosh had to become the team's primary - OK, only - big man on the floor which put a lot more pressure on him to make his presence around the basket felt.

Throughout this series, Bosh has been criticized for floating around the perimeter too much instead of spending more time in the paint.

Not only did Bosh spend more time in the post at both ends of the floor, but the Heat elected to not play (coaches decision) their two primary bigs off the bench, Chris Andersen and Joel Anthony.

That left Bosh as their primary low-post threat, and he responded with 20 points to go with 13 rebounds and two blocked shots.

"When we play with those lineups, he's the last (big) man there," said Heat coach Erik Spoelstra. "We need Chris to be big and to do so many different things and wear a lot of different hats."

However, Spoelstra isn't making moves just to see if the Spurs can counter them.

"We're not trying to play chess with guys to see if they blink first," Spoelstra said.

But Miami injecting Miller into the starting lineup - something Spoelstra would not commit to doing for Game 5 - has forced the Spurs to try and counter the smaller, shooter-friendly lineups that the Heat unveils.

San Antonio did have some success with Boris Diaw on the floor instead of Splitter.

Diaw, who came into Game 4 having scored just two points in the Finals, had seven points in his first three minutes on the floor and finished with nine which equalled his best scoring game of the playoffs this season.

Popovich even went so far as to start Diaw in the second half in place of Splitter.

But the success Diaw had in the first half was nowhere to be found in the second as he had has many turnovers (2) as points scored.

"The time he was in there he made a difference," San Antonio's Tim Duncan said of Diaw. "So we'll see the adjustments we make. We'll watch film and make some adjustments for the next game and come out and see what happens."