Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra only played nine of his players in Game 1 of the NBA Finals on Thursday night. LeBron James and Dwyane Wade still see value in a couple of guys who didn’t see the floor, though.
During a media session on Saturday afternoon, James and Wade, as well as several other Heat players, pointed out that both Udonis Haslem and three-point specialist James Jones could be solid contributors in this series against the San Antonio Spurs, but only if they’re given an opportunity to do so.
Wade & LeBron have spoken about going deeper in rotation. Players that I spoke to saw value in minutes for Haslem and/or Jones.
— Ethan J. Skolnick (@EthanJSkolnick) June 7, 2014
Haslem has played in 12 games during these playoffs, averaging 3.0 points and 3.1 rebounds in 12.0 minutes of action. Jones is putting up 3.8 points on 46.2 percent shooting from behind the arc in just 11 games.
Spoelstra appears to have cut down his bench rotation to veteran swingmen Ray Allen and Shane Battier, backup guard Norris Cole and “Birdman” Chris Andersen, all of whom played more than 13 minutes in Game 1. Haslem and Jones may continue to be on the outside looking in unless their coach feels the need to go even deeper down his bench.
Game 2 of the series takes place on Sunday, June 8 at 8 p.m ET. The Spurs outscored the Heat 36-17 in the fourth quarter on Thursday, taking Game 1 by a final score of 110-95. James led all scorers with 25 points, six rebounds and three assists, despite missing the final moments of the game with severe cramping.