• Norris Cole was a minor footnote against the Pacers last year, averaging 2.0 points and less than 13 minutes per game. He has played more than 20 minutes in eight of the Heat’s nine games this postseason and was 9 of 11 from three-point range in the Heat’s Eastern Conference semifinals matchup against the Bulls.
• Plugged into the starting lineup against the Pacers in 2012, Battier is back on the bench but his approach hasn’t changed.
“We expect to play like starters and play well,” Battier said.
Lots of depth
Given the depth of the Heat’s bench and the health of Bosh, it’s difficult to even compare the version of the Heat that grinded past the Pacers in 2012 and the team that will take on Indiana in the best-of-7 Eastern Conference finals beginning Wednesday at AmericanAirlines Arena.
One oddsmaker in Las Vegas — Bovada — recently made the Heat an absurd 2-to-15 favorite to win the series.
“Our bench is key,” James said. “They’re the group that brings in energy and some of the things that don’t always show up in the stat sheet. What Bird does, what Shane does, what Norris does, doesn’t always show up in the box score, but it helps when you do have those contributions that do show up in the box score: Ray’s ability to shoot the three, Norris’ ability to get steals and to score, Bird’s ability to block shots and get rebounds.
“We’re very deep. Our team is very deep, and we can play 10. We can [play] 11 if we had to. We could play 12, honestly, if we have to.”
Don’t give Spoelstra any ideas.