Miller's shooting and hustle are sparking Heat

BY foxsports • February 4, 2011

On Friday night, as most of the sporting world turned its eyes toward a snowed-over Super Bowl site, the Miami Heat beat the Charlotte Bobcats, 109-97.

For those of you focused on snowy Dallas instead of balmy Miami, here are some of the recent things that have taken shape with one of the league's best teams.

The Mike Miller Effect

Miller's emergence into the Heat rotation has added a more valuable tool than most forecast. While he's the three-point threat everyone envisioned, it's the guts, grit and hustle that have marked his real impact.

In a win over Orlando on Thursday night, Miller snatched 11 rebounds. He scored 13 points without missing a shot Friday night against Charlotte.

The man can shoot, rebound, handle the ball and add energy to a team that can use all the hustle it can get.

He is exactly what Erik Spoelstra said he would be: The equivalent of a big-time trade for a team that was already well on its way before Miller got on track.

Mario Chalmers is now the starting point guard

No, seriously, he's the starting point guard.

The turnovers, the out-of-control play, the moments he seems to usher the man he's guarding to the basket - it's a bit of a mystery.

Two theories abound about Mario's new role. One is that Carlos Arroyo offers even less. The other is that it satisfies LeBron James, Chalmers' buddy, and is therefore politically expedient.

Either way, the Heat's ball-handling duties will most likely shift to LeBron, Miller and Dwyane Wade in the months ahead.

The Heat have won five in a row, including four since his return. With Orlando and Oklahoma City on that list, don't overlook Bosh's import.

Spoelstra has called him the team's most important player. That might be stretching it a bit.

Though Bosh hasn't played well since coming back from a high ankle sprain, this team is markedly better with him.

So maybe he is the key to bringing it all together.

Ah, don't make LeBron angry

Do not pull a Dwight Howard. The man mocked LeBron, and LeBron then went off for 51 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists. That's historically excellent.

LeBron opponents, some advice: Give peace a chance.

Ah, don't make Dwyane Wade angry, either

Wade had a bit of an edge Friday after some skirmishes with Stephen Jackson.

He went on to a triple double: 22 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists.

The Heat are on their way

They need to play with more consistency. They need fewer minutes from Chalmers and more minutes from anyone else. They need LeBron to be angry, all the time. He needs to summon his inner Hulk, lose his David Banner, and unleash the monster inside him.

Still, the Heat are a very good basketball team. If they get even better, they could end up becoming champions.

You can follow Bill Reiter on Twitter.

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