As the playoffs drag on, with action intensified and possessions magnified, many coaches condense their lineups. Miami, and coach Erik Spoelstra, may be the greatest example of that.
In Tuesday's series opener, eight Heat players got minutes, but only six of them played a significant amount of time. Joel Anthony got two meaningless minutes and Mike Miller chipped in 10.
“You know, going into this game we were going to try and keep a tight rotation, maybe not as tight as it was, and give it our best shot.” Spoelstra said. “But I'll probably try to go a little bit deeper in game two.”
For the past few seasons, Chesapeake Energy Arena has been touted as the rowdiest venue in the NBA. During this playoff run, many national media members have backed that sentiment, comparing Oklahoma City's atmosphere to a big-time college arena.
Heat guard Mario Chalmers, a standout at Kansas, agreed, likening the Thunder's homecourt advantage to that of the Jayhawks' famed Phog Allen Fieldhouse.
“Feels exactly like the crowd at KU,” Chalmers said. “Oklahoma is basically a college town. They got OU, Oklahoma State just around the corner. Everybody comes together for the Thunder.”
But over the past two seasons, after Miami playing the role of villain, many of the Heat players have become immune to raucous atmospheres.
“Everybody keeps talking about how loud it is. It's regular,” Chris Bosh said. “We've been in a lot of other arenas and it's all the same. Once it gets that loud, it's all the same. But they have a great home court here, their fans are very vibrant and they bring a different aspect to the game.”