Miami Heat center Joel Anthony has emerged over time from a player lucky to be on a roster to a nice defender clearly worthy of at least coming off the bench and being in a squad’s rotation. And he was a defensive force early in Sunday’s Game 3, which the Heat won as they took a 2-1 series lead over the Chicago Bulls.

David J. Neal of the Miami Herald reports:

joel anthony

Joel Anthony’s four first-quarter blocks accounted for 36.6 percent of Chicago’s 11 first-quarter misses, helped keep Bulls power forward Carlos Boozer scoreless and the Bulls with a meager 15 points on 25 percent shooting while the Heat overcame their own offensive troubles. And even as Boozer got going in the second quarter with nine points, the Bulls began changing angles mid-shot, in anticipation of Anthony.

All of Anthony’s five blocked shots came in the first half, during which the Bulls shot 16 of 40 and shot only nine free throws. That’s five blocks in one half after 20 in the Heat’s first 12 playoff games.

There’s no official category for Shots Turned Bricks Off Of Intimidation, of which Anthony had several in his 29:03 of playing time, all of which were in the first three quarters.

Anthony is a limited player, but he’s still been the best of Miami’s crop of centers.