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NBA Matchup Nightmare: Examining the Miami Heat's Lineup Variations

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NBA Matchup Nightmare: Examining the Miami Heat's Lineup Variations
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The NBA’s elite always find ways to win. Depending on the matchup, there is a need for a team to adapt from the norm to give themselves the best possible chance of winning. Let’s take a look at at what lineup variations the 2010/11 Miami Heat can offer their opponents. These match-ups will assume the following 15-man roster:

Roster: Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, Chris Bosh, Mario Chalmers, Joel Anthony, Mike Miller, Udonis Haslem, Eddie House, James Jones, Dexter Pittman, Juwan Howard, Carlos Arroyo, Patrick Beverley, Da’Sean Butler, Zydrunas Ilgauskas

1. Standard Lineup

PG – Chalmers

SG – Wade

SF – James

PF – Bosh

C – Anthony

This is the lineup Miami should begin with to start the season. Chalmers looked nearly full strength in the first preseason outing and connected on half of his three-point attempts, which is promising. Many might question Anthony’s worth, but his shot blocking inside is a huge asset that will come in handy with the sometimes overzealous defensive play of James and Wade. They both gamble on steals, and often so does Chalmers.

Chalmers will never leave the starting lineup if he can consistently make shots. He’s going to have four or five opportunities a game in wide open, catch-and-shoot situations from the perimeter. The offense in this lineup will feed off Wade or James on the perimeter and then Bosh inside. That’s the beauty of the trio playing together; there are so many options.

2. Defense Lineup

PG – Chalmers

SG – Wade

SF – James

PF – Haslem

C – Bosh

Haslem is one of the best defensive players on the team so he has to be inserted here. Although he doesn’t offer Anthony’s shot blocking, his overall worth on the defensive end is superior. He plays just as good in help defense as he is on the ball, and is the second best rebounder on the team outside Bosh.

This is the best defensive group Miami can offer, as long as the opposition isn’t the Lakers, Celtics, or Magic. Against big lineups like those, Ilgauskas or Pittman would be brought in at center to help bang with the big boys.

3. Big Lineup

PG – James

SG – Wade

SF – Miller

PF – Bosh

C – Pittman

This massive group is an exciting thought. It forces the opponent to either guard Wade or James with their point guard or remove that guy from the game. It’s a win-win situation. If Pittman struggles with the complexities of the NBA game, Ilgauskas can be inserted at center.

Pittman is the more physical presence, however, and he really knows how to throw around his 280-pound frame. He is especially going to get quality minutes when matched up with Dwight Howard of the Magic or Andrew Bynum of the Lakers.

4. Speed Lineup

PG – Chalmers

SG – House

SF – Wade

PF – James

C – Bosh

Wade at the 3? Yes, this lineup flies. You’re not going to see something like this often, but maybe in spurts. I am intrigued by playing LeBron at power forward. He is just as big as most of the other 4′s in the NBA, so why not take advantage of his unmatched speed and athleticism at the position? I’m not sure any team in the NBA can match up with Miami straight up besides the Lakers, and a lineup like this would make things all the more difficult.

5. Shooting Lineup

PG – House

SG – Miller

SF – Jones

PF – James

C – Bosh

An exotic lineup like this features the Heat’s three best deep shooters on the court at the same time. If Bosh is having his way inside, this would be an ideal group to spread the floor.

6. Crunch Time Lineup

PG – James

SG – Wade

SF – Miller

PF – Haslem

C – Bosh

If Miami is in the position where they need buckets down the stretch, which is going to be a rarity this season, this should be their go-to group. It features the best five players on the team. No team in the NBA has a prayer of matching up with this lineup defensively. There are just too many weapons.

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