NBA coaches must turn in their starting lineup card one hour before tipoff. Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra revealed after Tuesday's morning shoot-around he would not turn in his starting lineup card for Game 1 against the Thunder until the latest possible moment, which will be 7 p.m. for the 8 p.m. start.
That's when it will be revealed whether Chris Bosh will return to the starting lineup since coming back from an abdomen injury, or if veteran Shane Battier will continue to fill in for Bosh.
"In terms of the starting lineup, rotation and everything, I will turn in my card before the game," Spoelstra said at noon Tuesday.
Spoelstra routinely has waited until the last possible moment to share his starting lineup.
"One … it's my right, you know," Spoelstra said. "Secondly, and more importantly, I just want everybody (on the Heat roster) focusing. Everybody knows what we're doing. I want to keep the noise to a minimum and focus on just the game."
OKC (47-19) has home-court advantage in the Finals by virtue of having a better regular-season record than Miami (46-20).
The Thunder and Heat split their regular-season series 1-1, each winning at home. Miami would have had to finish one game ahead of OKC in the final standings in order to get home-court advantage because the Thunder owned the tiebreaker thanks to a better record against the opposing conference (13-5 vs. 11-7).
The Heat lost three of its last four regular-season games. Bosh sat out the last six games. Wade essentially sat six of the last eight games. James missed three of the last four games.
The 41-year-old Spoelstra, in his fourth season as Miami's coach, defended his decision to rest his "Big 3."
"We did that strategy for a reason at the end of the season," Spoelstra said. "We had to get guys healthy and make sure they were ready for the long haul. Health was the No. 1 issue. We didn't have guys 100-percent healthy. That last week was really critical for us going into the second season (the playoffs)."
Asked if he valued home-court advantage during the playoffs, Spoelstra said: " You value it, but there always are a lot of variables. Health was the biggest variable at that time."
Spoelstra said he will share one final brief message with his team before it takes the court at Chesapeake Energy Arena tonight. In the meantime, there will be no further instructions.
"The Hay's in the barn," Spoelstra said. "Let's tip this off and play. I don't want the guys to have too much going on in their heads before the game at this point. I want them to enjoy this moment and go after it."