Erik Spoelstra told media today that he isn't planning on changing his lineup for the Heat's Game 5 matchup with Philly on Wednesday. Even though both Mike Bibby and Zydrunas Ilgauskas had pretty awful games on Sunday, they will remain in the starting lineup and probably get at least 15-20 minutes, depending on how productive they will be.
Big Z has had a decent post season so far and was averaging 8.3 points on 68.7% shooting and 6.6 rebounds in about 17 minutes until his poor showing in Game 4. Throughout the series the Heat have gotten a boost when replacing Z with Joel Anthony, but at times where Miami has needed to go ‘big', Ilgauskas has filled in nicely.
Bibby on the other hand has been pretty bad throughout the playoffs. After shooting close to 50% from the field and from downtown during his first month with the Heat, his numbers began to slowly decline leading up to the post season. Now he is mired in a slump that has many people questioning why he is still in the starting lineup when Miami has played much better with Mario Chalmers on the floor.
In 4 playoff games, Bibby is averaging 4.0 points on 22.2% shooting (and 20.0% from downtown) in 23.8 minutes and has looked quite slow trying to defend the young and quick Sixers backcourt. During the season he was having one of the best shooting years of his career, so hopefully he can get back on that track soon because the Heat are going to need that outside threat against the teams they'll be playing on the way to the Finals.
One person who has been quite productive for Miami has been James Jones. He is shooting 50.0% from the field and averaging 7.3 points in the playoffs, and while he's only hit 38.5% from downtown, his efforts on defense have not gone unnoticed. Jones is getting the minutes that had been going to Mike Miller and Eddie House, both of whom aren't getting much playing time thus far in the post season.
We'll see how things pan out tomorrow night as the Heat try to put away Philadelphia and move on to round 2, but if they are going to get far in the Playoffs they will need more consistent production from their regulars. Whether they are starting or coming off the bench, Miami cant afford to have guys playing 20+ minutes and not contributing, especially when they have been accustomed to getting production from those players throughout the season.