The Thunder, who were down 22-4 in the first quarter to the Heat decided to go small, and they didn't turn back. Oklahoma City won the game 112-95 and gave the Heat a taste of their own medicine. Once the Thunder went small, it was like Miami didn't know how to counter it, it was their formula for success in the past.
After the game, LeBron James made note of it with this comment:
"Mike Miller was huge piece of that. That was always consistent, when Wade went down or when D-Wade came out of the game, we always had Mike Miller to come in."
Six months after Mike Miller was amnestied, it's still in LeBron James' mind that there is something missing without Mike Miller. It was ironic, when Miller joined the Heat it meant the departure of Michael Beasley. And with the departure of Mike Miller, it brought back Michael Beasley, under different circumstances of course. Many thought Beasley would be the fill in guy for Miller and replace those minutes, but what has happened, many didn't see coming.
The deterioration of Udonis Haslem has caused a shift in the line-ups. Haslem has all but lost his spot in the rotation, now only playing spot minutes in certain games. Beasley has essentially taken his role (again ironic) and filled that void. But what that has caused, is another gap in the roster for where Miller used to be.
Now don't forget, Miller was always a when-needed player. Even during Miami's 27 game win streak last year Miller played sparingly (he only had 3 games with 20+ minutes and sat out more often than he played). He didn't play in 7 of the first 16 playoff games before heavy minutes in the NBA Finals. But when he was called, he was effective and he would spread the floor.
Spoelstra has begun to experiemnt with two bigs again. Playing Bosh at the Power Forward spot with either Chris Andersen or Greg Oden, that has been effective. But the spacing is always the concern. It's been clear that Shane Battier is more than likely in his last season and he isn't as sharp or consistent as the Heat would like offensively. Ray Allen has been struggling, and on top of all that, Dwyane Wade seems to be in super rest mode trying to save whatever he has for the playoffs.
So LeBron misses Mike Miller a little bit. And who can blame him? Miller isn't averaging anything special in Memphis this season, getting only 6.8 PPG in 21.5 MPG. But Mike was always able to do so many things. Beasley has done his best so far. Beasley is getting 9.0 PPG in 16.2 MPG and has shown glimpses of the potential he could have to do different things with the offense. But Beasley's biggest problem has been defense and giving up some rebounds.
Mike's biggest asset to the Heat was his versatility. He could play the 2 or 3, and he was a good enough defender and above average rebounder. One thing we always loved about Mike was that he always gave his best effort. He would jump in the stands or dive on the floor to save a loose ball. And he would even shoot threes without his shoe if necessary. There was something about Miller that Miami loved, and that part is missed more than anything.
Would Mike Miller solve what going on in Miami right now? Probably not, but his spacing is missed. The biggest key for the Heat to forget about Mike will be for Beasley to continue to be in the right spot, Battier and Allen get their shots on target and for Wade to somehow get healthy enough to play the majority of the games. LeBron has played less at the PF spot so far this regular season, but I wouldn't expect that trend to continue in the playoffs - Miami knows what has gotten them the last two championships.
|2013 - Mike Miller||6.8||2.9||1.7|
What do you think?
Do you think the Heat miss Mike Miller? Share your comments with us.
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