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Battier, Miller roles a mystery going into Finals

One of Erik Spoelstra's biggest changes during the Eastern Conference finals was a gradual reduction in minutes for Shane Battier and the sudden addition of Mike Miller to the rotation. How will Battier and Miller be used in The Finals? It's one of the biggest mysteries heading into the series.

Before the game, neither Battier nor Miller gave any indication of how they would be used. Battier made light of his situation saying he would add his good looks and charisma to The Finals.

"Aside from being one of the most handsome guys on the team and trying to bring up the team IQ and just the debonair style of our team, no," Battier said when asked if he knew how he would be used in The Finals. "I do know I'm going to provide that, though."

While Battier is always good for a joke and nice dose of perspective, he did admit to being extremely disappointed in his performance and gradual benching against the Pacers. One year earlier, Battier was a major key to the Heat defeating the Pacers in the Eastern Conference semifinals after Chris Bosh went down with his abdominal strain.

"Obviously as a competitor, it was tough, I'm not going to lie,'' Battier said. "It was maybe the toughest thing I've gone through as a competitor. I was super happy for my team and my teammates. In retrospect, it's OK today. Every now and then you have to eat a turd sandwich. When you eat a turd sandwich, that ribeye tastes really good next time. That's life, and that's the way I look at it."

Battier went from averaging 6.0 points per game off the bench in the second round to 2.3 points per game in the Eastern Conference finals. In Game 5, Udonis Haslem took some of Battier's minutes, which were reduced to less than nine. In Game 6, the majority of Battier's minutes went to Joel Anthony. In Game 7, Battier didn't play at all. Instead, Mike Miller played 17 minutes.

Miller provided a boost in the doomed fourth quarter of Game 6 but didn't score in Game 7. He indicated that Spoelstra hasn't made a decision on the rotation.

"Your guess is as good as mine. I don't know," Miller said. "I'm going to prepare like I always do and see what happens."

The Pacers superb three-point defense was a problem for Battier, but he might have better luck against the Spurs. As for Miller, it's hard to keep him off the court after his peformance in The Finals last season.

Comments

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Come to play... Stay aggressive... 48 minutes... Protect home court...

TURN IT UP!!!!!!

Heat in 6 BLACK!!! Ssssssssiiiiiiiiiiiixxxxxxxxxxx!!! Thank me later!

Completely unacceptable that LBJ had only 18 points!!! Could care less he had a triple double!! If he doesn't score at least 30 a night, this will be a short series. That's the analysis that makes the most sense.

BKY, if LBJ had 23 (another 5 points) the Heat win. If he had 2 more assists on three pointers, the Heat win, and LBJ scores only 18.

The triple double is a very nice feat. The fact that so few players (other than Magic) struggle to reach that level is one indication of how hard it is to do.

Are we going to get caught up believing the media's self imposed metrics for a Heat win?? They put WAY too much emphasis on the players they want to market. I for one was surprised that the game was played with two full rosters of incredibly condition professional athletes. I was expecting to see a 3-on-3 match (between the team's 'big three') or a Pop vs LBJ 1-on-1 game based on the predictable media build up to the series.

Lost game 1 in 2006 and 2012 and ended up with banners. Very well played game last night. Parker hit a tough shot or we have the rebound, down by 2, with a time out to set up a play. Shiite happens.

to know your foes strengths, you have to take a few blows to the face and seem weakened by them, but then you prepare to retaliate with a knock out punch as you saw with pacquiao...so prepare 2 see longoria's boy toy 2 go down & out in the 6th round w/ a knockout, & the rest of sant'nio bunch!!!

Hey Maywtha; bet another 6 mil chump!!!

It's 2013--an odd numbered year. If history repeats itself, Spurs will win as all their NBA Championships have happened in 1999, 2003, 2005, and 2007--all in odd numbered years.

GO SPURS GO1

EyeBallTwo, are you suggesting violence on the basketball court? Chill out and enjoy the contest! As a basketball fan whose allegiance is to the Spurs, I can tell you this much---knocking people out of games is a Heat strategy. I've seen Battier (who used to play for Houston) become a dirty player; I've seen LBJ running people over and not getting called for it; I've seen DWade knee players in the groin and not get called for it. Be sure though that if your guys play dirty (it is a tactic brought over by Pat Riley)Popovich will immediately take care of it. So, if you are instigating intentional physical harm to an opposing player, you should feel shame.

^^^

Where the heck did that come from?

I have NO idea what you are referring to.

Let me at least add this: You've seen all those things where you accuse the HEAT of playing dirty, so you've seen COUNTLESS times where LBJ takes the ball to the hole, gets hit in the head/neck/arm/back and there is NO foul. You've certainly witnessed that in the last two Heat series, as well as all year, no?

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