Miami Heat’s bench not yielding much so far in NBA Finals
06/11/2014 12:20 AM
09/08/2014 7:24 PM
The Heat takes a lot of pride in its bench, with reserves Ray Allen, Chris Andersen and Norris Cole playing big roles not only this postseason but in last year’s run to the championship, as well.
Tuesday, the Heat didn’t get a whole lot from its reserves.
Miami’s bench combined for 23 points as San Antonio took Game 3 of the Finals with a 111-92 victory at AmericanAirlines Arena.
“We played OK,’’ said Norris Cole, who scored eight of those points, “but we lost so you’re not happy with that. We competed, but we didn’t make enough plays. They did.’’
For Cole, getting ready for Game 3 had to be tough. Earlier in the day, he got word that his personal chef, Antaun Teasley, 42, was shot and killed at club Mansion.
“It wasn’t tough to get up for the game, but [it] was a tough loss,’’ Cole said.
“[Teasley] has been very influential in my career. He fed me every day, made sure my body was right. My condolences go out to his family. But this is the NBA Finals, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I was ready for the game.’’
On Tuesday, coach Erik Spoelstra went down the bench a little when he gave James Jones some early playing time, putting him in with 5:22 left in the first.
Prior to Tuesday, Jones had only played 6:49 in Sunday’s Game 2 win after not getting into the opener.
With three quick fouls, Jones lasted just 2:02.
Although Spoelstra had four of five reserves on the court early in the first quarter, even after the game had been decided late in the fourth, that was reversed.
Four of five starters remained on the floor with Miami down 17 — Allen was out there instead of Mario Chalmers.
With 1:36 left, Spoelstra finally emptied the bench, giving Greg Oden and Toney Douglas on the floor for the first time this series.
“It was a bad loss for us, it’s not about me getting into the game,’’ Oden said. “I would like to get in there when we’re up 17. But we’ll regroup, we’ll be better. This was a team loss. Every game is a new game, every day a new day. We always have a chance to win.’’
Spoelstra said before the game he had plenty of confidence in his reserves, noting that “at any time” a player could be thrown into the game. They are expected to be ready at all times.
Rashard Lewis, for instance, wasn’t playing very much for the Heat early in the playoffs but has since become a starter playing significant minutes.
“A lot of our reserves are able to make [a positive] impact,’’ Spoelstra said.
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