Udonis Haslem vs Clippers this season: 3 PTS, 6 REB, 3 PF, 33.3 FG% (1-of-3), 20 MIN.
When the Heat visited Staples Center last November, Haslem still resided in a bench role. His status has risen to that of starting power forward, and will surely be a factor from the tip-off. Shane Battier was forced to guard Blake Griffin, which anybody can tell you is an insane mismatch.
Having the physical Haslem against Griffin will be a point of interest throughout the game. In the Clippers' victory this season, the 6'10" All-Star scored 20 points and snatched 14 rebounds in 30 minutes. When you compare Griffin's statistical output with Haslem on the floor, it's a very different story.
Per 36 minutes, Griffin put up 27.4 points and 18.7 rebounds against the Heat with Haslem on the bench. Insert the long-time Miami forward and Griffin's efficiency plummets to 7.2 points and 7.2 rebounds per 36 minutes.
Having a bruising body like UD in the middle will be an enormous factor in containing Griffin tonight. Haslem doesn't need to score or put up spectacular numbers; just rebound the ball and defend the paint.
Blake Griffin vs Heat this season: 20 PTS, 14 REB, 6 AST, 50 FG% (8-of-16), 30 MIN.
Griffin was unstoppable in almost every category against the Heat defense. Almost registering a triple-double, his all-around play had the Clippers firing on all cylinders.
As aforementioned, Griffin had a distinct advantage matching up against Shane Battier at power forward. His ridiculous athleticism and ability to soar for rebounds tells the story for his 14 boards with four coming on the offensive glass.
Noted in the previous slide, the Heat are seemingly constant in terms of rotating on defense. Griffin's six assists are a direct result of this, as the entire Miami defense would collapse as soon as he dribbled in the paint. All the three-time All-Star had to do was kick the ball out to LA's perimeter shooters.
With Haslem, and now the addition of Chris Andersen, most likely defending Griffin, this match up will be pivotal in either team's chance at winning the game.