NBA Finals: Heat rotation lacking stability

While James Harden & Co. log big minutes for Oklahoma City, Miami's bench has been used much more sparingly.
BY ANTHONY SLATER, Staff Writer, aslater@opubco.com Published: June 13, 2012
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James Jones, a 6-foot-8 sharpshooter, is an intriguing option, but Spoelstra said he has been suffering from migraine headaches. Even when healthy, Jones was used sparingly, playing more than 10 minutes just three times this postseason.

High-energy rookie Norris Cole is another option. In the Boston series, Cole was given extended stretches throughout the middle of games.

“We haven't seen Norris yet this series,” Bosh said. “But we know the type of energy that he brings. Joel has played sparingly the last two series, but we know he's got a lot of energy to give.”

And energy may be the key.

Miami's star players insist that fatigue is not a factor at this stage, with everything on the line and the finish line in sight.

But in these playoffs, LeBron James has logged 808 minutes, Dwyane Wade 746 and Mario Chalmers 671. All three of those totals are higher than any Thunder player.

And that constant overtaxing, combined with a condensed regular season and grueling postseason run, may have finally caught up to them.

After Tuesday's hot-shooting start, Miami was sluggish in the second half, with tired legs falling victim to a young, athletic team, and a 54-47 halftime lead turning into a 105-94 defeat.

To remain fresh, a deeper rotation may be employed. But with Spoelstra and the Heat, no one knows what, or who, that entails.

“We're going to have to have more guys in there to give me and D-Wade a rest,” James said. “And Shane, Shane played a lot of minutes. But Spo will figure that out.  We'll be more conscious about it, just trying to get a minute or two here or there so we can finish strong.”

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