NBA Finals: Heat coach Erik Spoelstra decides to go with small lineup in Game 2

LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Mario Chalmers, Chris Bosh and Shane Battier started together for the first time of this season's playoffs.
By John Rohde Modified: June 15, 2012 at 1:24 am •  Published: June 15, 2012

Usually it's the Thunder that decides when to go “small” with its lineup.

The Miami Heat opted to go small the instant coach Erik Spoelstra submitted his starting lineup an hour before Game 2 of the NBA Finals on Thursday night.

Just like in Game 1, Spoelstra held his lineup card close to his vest.

In the series opener, he decided to bring Chris Bosh off the bench and start Udonis Haslem instead.

In Game 2, Spoelstra played an unexpected card and started Bosh and Battier and brought Haslem off the bench.

Thursday's 100-96 victory over OKC tied the series at 1-1 and marked the first time in the playoffs Spoelstra used the starting lineup of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Mario Chalmers, Bosh and Battier.

The Heat coach liked the mixture so much that every Miami starter played 39-plus minutes.

“It was key, you know, having our best players on the floor early, especially when we needed to start off great,” said Wade, who had 24 points, six rebounds, five assists and one block. “We needed to come out and we needed to play well from the beginning.”

Miami led wire-to-wire and jumped out to an 18-2 lead with 4:51 left in the opening period. The Thunder cut the Heat's lead to 98-96 with 37.5 seconds remaining, but never got closer.

Bosh, who missed nine playoff games with an abdomen injury, had 16 points, 15 rebounds, two blocked shots and had already secured his double-double by halftime with 10 points and 10 rebounds.

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