SAN ANTONIO (AP) — Mike Miller’s uncanny play in these NBA Finals has earned him a spot in the Miami Heat’s starting lineup.
The Heat switched their rotation for Game 4 against San Antonio on Thursday night, electing to have Miller open the game in place of Udonis Haslem. It’s a move that also puts LeBron James in the post more than he was during the first three games of the series, when he largely had to rely on jump shots that the Spurs wanted him to take.
Miller would go to one of the wings alongside Dwyane Wade, with James and Bosh at forward and Mario Chalmers at point guard.
“It opens up the floor,” James said about adding another shooter to the lineup. “It gives me more driving lanes, it gives D-Wade more driving lanes. So we’ll see what happens.”
Miller made 10 of his 11 shots off the bench in the first three games of the series against San Antonio, including 9 of 10 from 3-point range. Haslem has averaged just 14 minutes of playing time in the series and has made three of his seven shots.
Miller has started only one other game in these playoffs, that being Game 4 of Miami’s first-round series against Milwaukee.
“Any decision is tough. That’s part of this seat,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said shortly before the move was announced. “We’ve developed enough of a trust that the guys understand I’ll make any decision that we feel is necessary to help us without hesitation, because there isn’t time. So it’s not personal whenever we do it. When you’re dealing with the human element, those things are never easy.”
Spoelstra said he credited the San Antonio defense for taking Miami away from doing some of its offensive staples in the first three games in the series, like attacking the rim.
By pulling defenders farther from the basket because of another shooter’s presence, that could change.
“It’s a symbiotic relationship,” Spoelstra said. “Our attackers and our shooters, we need both working together. Some nights it’s our shooters that have more of an impact. Sometimes, because of their reputations, our attackers have more of a chance.”
The Spurs took a 2-1 series lead into Game 4.