Miami Heat Starting Lineup Will Stay Same Vs. Celtics Despite Struggles In First Round

The Miami Heat starting lineup will remain the same against the Boston Celtics in the second round of the 2011 NBA Playoffs, coach Erik Spoelstra told reporters Friday, despite the Heat's starting five struggling mightily against the Philadelphia 76ers in the first round. Per StatsCube, the Heat's lineup of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Mike Bibby and Zydrunas Ilgauskas had a truly atrocious efficiency differential of -35 points per 100 possessions against Philly, an almost unspeakable failure. The Heat were +10 in total.

The other option would seem to be the lineup Spoelstra used to start the second half of Miami's clinching Game 5 against the Sixers, which substitutes Joel Anthony for Ilgauskas and Mario Chalmers for Bibby. That linup had an efficiency differential of +42 in the Philadelphia series.

But the Celtics play very different than the Sixers, and Spoelstra is relying on finesse in place of energy and speed. That said, per StatsCube the Celtics' offense scored 89.7 points per 100 possessions with Anthony on the floor this season in the teams' four matchups, and 107 when he sat. Ilgauskas' presence didn't affect the Heat's defense in the regular season against Boston, according to the numbers, but the Miami offense did perform much better (110, vs. 97) with Z in the game. The Celtics' defense finished No. 2 in the league this season, so Spoelstra could be looking for a bigger offensive spark instead of defensive range.

For full series coverage, follow our Heat vs. Celtics hub.

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