Miami Heat Starting Lineup Struggles Against Sixers; Will Erik Spoelstra Make A Change?

The Miami Heat came away with a convincing 4-1 series victory over the Philadelphia 76ers in the first round of the 2011 NBA Playoffs, but there was one huge, blinking problem for the team: the starting lineup. The Heat's starting five of Mike Bibby and Zydrunas Ilgauskas along with Dwyane Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh struggled mightily against the Sixers, and in Game 5 fell behind 13-4 in the first quarter.

Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra quickly turned to Mario Chalmers, who ended up having a huge scoring night, and energetic defensive-minded center Joel Anthony, who came up big in the closing minutes of the win. Bibby and Big Z remained on the bench for the rest of the game, as Spoelstra went with Chalmers and Anthony to start the third quarter, doing so for the first time in the series despite repeated issues for the Bibby-Ilgauskas unit.

Tom Haberstroh of Heat Index writes that while Spoelstra hasn't decided on a starting five for the Boston Celtics' series, which begins Sunday, the third quarter shift indicates that the coach's previous stubbornness on including the veterans in the starting five could be lifting. Haberstroh notes that Bibby and Ilgauskas started for the Heat when the teams last met early in April, with Miami pulling out a win.

See our Heat vs. Celtics hub for full series coverage.

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