If the Miami Heat want to close out the Indiana Pacers tonight, they’ll have to do it without reserve big man Chris “Birdman” Andersen.
Tonight’s #HEATplayoffs Game 5 inactives vs the Pacers – Chris Andersen (left thigh contusion) & Justin Hamilton.
— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) May 28, 2014
Tweaking his thigh in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals, Birdman also missed Game 4 though his presence was rarely missed as the Miami Heat ran ragged over the Indiana Pacers, led behind a 30-point performance by Lebron James and a revival from starting center Chris Bosh as he poured on 25 points (7-12 from the field) and six rebounds.
Birdman’s impact on this Miami Heat team can’t be understated. In the games where Chris Bosh’s play has waned, Birdman has done an excellent job stepping in and making an immediate impact, something that is kind of the story of his career. During these conference finals, the Miami Heat have posted a net rating of 24.6 when Birdman is on the floor opposed to a net rating of -6.6 when the reserve center is on the bench.
On the brink of their fourth straight NBA Finals appearance, the Miami Heat are going to need Birdman at 100 percent as they’re set to face a tough opponent in either the San Antonio Spurs and Oklahoma City Thunder. But tonight’s absence
Chris Andersen is inactive. Was doing some stretching in locker room, so it’s not serious. Just getting another day. — Ethan J. Skolnick (@EthanJSkolnick) May 28, 2014
Chris “Birdman” Andersen is averaging 5.8 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 1.3 blocks per game during the 2014 NBA playoffs.