Heat closing games with versatile roster

Heat closing games with versatile roster

Published Feb. 10, 2011 2:48 p.m. ET

FOXSportsFlorida.com Heat Writer
Feb. 10, 2011

The closing five is much more important than the starting five on any basketball team. In that respect, give coach Erik Spoelstra and his players lots of credit. The Heat have successfully transitioned from a projected superstar closing five of the Big Three, Mike Miller and Udonis Haslem to a closing five of Big Three and two other guys.

"And it could change from game to game," Spoelstra said of the other two guys.

The bottom line is that the Heat are now winning those close games that were slipping away early in the season. That's significant, and it'll be a huge help in the playoffs.

The Big Three of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh will always be on the floor to close a game. But in recent weeks they've been flanked by a combination of guards, Eddie House and Mario Chalmers, forwards, Mike Miller and James Jones, and centers, Erick Dampier, Joel Anthony and Zydrunas Ilgauskas.

"That's the versatility we feel we have with this roster," Spoelstra said. "You want to take advantage of it. As this season goes on we're using it more to our advantage."

Here's where the credit goes to the players: the guys flanking the Big Three are making plays. They're hitting shots, getting rebounds, defending, doing all the things required to win close games.

This all gets backs to Spoelstra's favorite buzzword