This is what makes him so valuable. His "jungle cat" defense. Meow.
What? An article about a player other than Dwayne Wade or LeBron James?
I bet you would think it would be about Chris Bosh then.
Nope. It's about Udonis Haslem, the hero of Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals. While LeBron James carried the team to victory, his team may have been put into that position by the shocking play of Haslem.
His 13 points and five rebounds don't tell the whole story. He gave the Heat an energy that has been missing outside of the Big Three all season long. He was rebounding, using active hands on defense, getting assists (two), running the floor, cutting to the basket and putting himself in position to be a factor on the court.
Last year, Haslem averaged 9.9 points and eight rebounds per game. If he can come anywhere near those numbers again, his presence will be felt in the series.
What makes this so shocking is that he has obviously been hurt all year long. Mike Miller still doesn't look right after his injury. He is so scared to shoot that he passes up wide open looks that he would have knocked down before.
Besides Haslem, the bench only produced FOUR points—two from Miller and two from Jamaal Magloire, who really shouldn't be on the floor.
James Jones, who has been such a critical part of the Heat's late season successes, has disappeared, and the other players have zero offensive ability.
While Miller has been a big help rebounding, and has pretty good energy (when he isn't avoiding taking the three point shot, which is what he was brought to Miami for), Haslem brings a whole new level of intensity to the games.
While I am not foolish enough to believe Haslem has the offensive skill set to really win a game for his team (and who needs it, with James and Wade on the same team), but his energy and enthusiasm will go a long way in continuing to make the Heat competitive against the Bulls.
Welcome back, Udonis!