Heat bench steps up in win over Clippers

Heat bench steps up in win over Clippers

Published Feb. 6, 2011 3:40 p.m. ET

FOXSportsFlorida.com Heat Writer

The Heat's bench used to be a major weakness. That wasn't the case in Sunday's 97-79 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers at AmericanAirlines Arena. The bench accounted for 33 points, 19 rebounds, two steals and three blocks.

Lately you could almost view the Heat's bench as a strong point. Among guard Eddie House, swingman Mike Miller and forward James Jones the Heat has the core of a title-contending bench.

"E. House has probably been the most consistent player for us the last couple of weeks," said forward LeBron James, who had a mixed game with a season-low 12 points to go along with six rebounds, four assists and six turnovers.

The Heat (37-14) is on a six-game winning streak partly because of its bench strength. Steadily, Miami has been chomping up the ground between itself and Boston. The Heat's bench is a big reason.

In this latest incarnation of the Heat's bench -- House (15 points), Miller (eight points, five rebounds), Jones (six points, seven rebounds) and center Joel Anthony (four points, three blocks) -- there's offense, defense, shot-blocking and athleticism. About the only things missing are rebounding and size. Neither will come out of this crop of players so in a way you could argue this bench is maxing out its talent.

"Our bench has been very key for us and we want it to continue to play with that confidence," said Wade, who had 28 points, eight rebounds, eight assists and three blocks.

Give some credit to coach Erik Spoelstra for jockeying with the bench until he got it right (starting center Zydrunas Ilgauskas and benching Joel Anthony, starting Mario Chalmers and benching Carlos Arroyo, finding a spot for House, etc