Mike Miller is feeling better than he has since signing with the Heat, but it is not translating into playing time.
Once the Heat’s entrenched sixth man and the team’s best outside scoring threat, Miller is now 10th in playing time and averaging less than 14 minutes per game. He is shooting 41.7 percent (10 of 24) from three-point range, which is good for fifth on the team among players with at least 20 attempts.
Stunningly, the Heat is shooting 43 percent from three-point range as a team.
“He’ll have to constantly manage the big-picture thought with his role,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said.
Spoelstra said he is being cautious with Miller, considering his history of injuries. Miller’s body broke down last season, and he hobbled through the playoffs with a sore back.
As it stands now, Miller is behind Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis in the rotation. For the second game in a row, Lewis started for the Heat on Saturday night in place of Shane Battier, who has a strained right MCL.
“Right now, every game is important, but with Mike we also have to think a little bit differently,” Spoelstra said. “Given the history of the last two years, we have to have an organized program for him to make sure that he’s strongest and healthiest at the end of the year.
“I love seeing him move around the way he has been. He’s upright and a full 6-8. Sometimes you forget how tall he is, but he’s moving around freely.”
Initially signed to the Nets to serve in an unofficial player-coach role, NBA veteran Jerry Stackhouse is having a renaissance of sorts for Brooklyn.
Stackhouse was called into service early in the season because of injuries, but the quick fix looks like it might turn into a long-term solution. He was averaging 6.9 points per game entering Saturday night but had consecutive season-high scoring games against the Knicks and Celtics last week.
Stackhouse had 14 points in the Nets’ dramatic victory against the Knicks on Monday night.
Two nights later, he scored 17 points against the Celtics in another emotionally charged game.
Stackhouse played with the Heat for a few games in 2010 before being cut to make room for veteran center Erick Dampier.
“We’re happy for him,” Spoelstra said.
“He played a good role for us, and he’s a great guy. You can tell that he has the mind that he’ll probably get into coaching when he is done playing. But he still has some mileage left on those tires.”
DUCK AND COVER
Attempting to remain above the fray, Spoelstra wanted no part of a question about the $250,000 fine that NBA commissioner David Stern handed the San Antonio Spurs for resting their stars against the Heat on Thursday night.
“I’m beyond that now,” Spoelstra said after Saturday’s shootaround. “I’m just going to focus on [Saturday night]. I’m not sure, but there’s probably been enough talk about it.”
The topic likely will come up again at the end of the season when Spoelstra begins putting the Heat’s stars on his “maintenance program.” Spoelstra talked openly about resting players at the end of the 2011-12 regular season.
Considering some of the league’s top stars play on his roster, Spoelstra might have to reconsider his strategy at the end of this season. Either that or just invent phantom injuries and illnesses for the boxscore.