The Miami Heat are still adjusting to each other, and the process will continue for much of the season.
One of the most important pieces of the supporting cast is veteran forward Udonis Haslem, who is learning to contribute in big ways coming off the bench.
Joseph Goodman of the Miami Herald reports:
Haslem’s role off the bench has expanded gradually over the past six games. Beginning with his 24-minute contribution against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Nov. 2, Haslem’s minutes have increased steadily in each game. On Saturday, he played 37 minutes in the Heat’s 109-100 victory against the Toronto Raptors. Only starter LeBron James (40 minutes) logged more time on the court…
For now, Haslem will continue to provide a spark off the bench. Officially, Haslem is Bosh’s backup at the power forward position, but many times through the first 10 games of the season both Haslem and Bosh have been on the court together late in games.
“I like having Udonis in the game but right now I don’t plan on starting him,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “I don’t plan on starting Chris at the center. I like having a veteran warrior who knows our system, who knows what’s important to us coming off the bench.”
Said Haslem: “I feel like when I come in, I think I got to get more done faster, instead of just coasting into the game. Coming off the bench, it’s just full speed ahead automatically because you don’t know how many minutes you’re going to get or what’s the situation. When I come in the game, I’m real aggressive. I’m attacking the boards.”
The Heat have started the season exactly how I thought they would. They’re beating the bad teams, and losing to the really good ones. It’s still super-early. Keep watching the development.