Miami Heat Rely On Smallball To Create Matchup Problems For Boston Celtics In Game 4 Win

The Miami Heat have faced positional deficiencies at center and point guard all season; in reality, the Heat's depth isn't actually bad on the wings, where James Jones and Mike Miller scrap for minutes behind superstars LeBron James and Dwyane Wade.

Despite that, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra only infrequently tinkered with smallball lineups to cover up the gap at center; Chris Bosh played nine percent of Miami's center minutes, and the rest were used by more traditional centers like Joel Anthony, Zydrunas Ilgauskas and Erick Dampier. But Spoelstra, looking for a matchup to spring Bosh loose in Game 4, turned to a smaller lineup with Bosh at center and LeBron at power forward for basically the entire fourth quarter and overtime.

It worked: the Heat won 98-90 in extra time after trailing by three at the half. Bosh had an excellent second half (15 points, 6-9 shooting, 10 rebounds in the final two quarters and overtime), and Kevin Garnett -- a more frequent combatant at center, but still more comfortable at power forward -- struggled, scoring just two points after halftime. Given the change in Miami's starting lineup, with Anthony replacing Ilgauskas, Big Z barely got off the bench, which frankly is probably the right call for the Heat.

In its smallball lineup, Jones handled small forward while LeBron moved up to power forward, a position he could probably handle 82 games a year if he didn't handle the ball so much.

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