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NBA / May 18, 2011 / 11:00 am

Miami’s Udonis Haslem: “I Have To Get Minutes”

Udonis Haslem

Udonis Haslem (photo. David Alvarez)

Imagine if you were on a team, lobbying for more playing time, and were asked, “Well, what have you done to earn it?” Right now, Miami’s Udonis Haslem would have to say “Um, in seven playoff minutes so far, I haven’t scored a point, and haven’t grabbed a rebound.”

But with Miami trailing Chicago 1-0 in the Eastern Conference Finals, and their situation becoming increasingly dire (no one has a clue what they’ll do about the rebounding problems), Haslem says he’s ready and hoping for more time.

The Miami Herald writes:

Haslem doesn’t have a rebound in seven playoff minutes. But “my timing is good,” he said. “I feel like I’m ready. My teammates feel like I’m ready. I can do everything I need to do.”

He said not playing much “is not easy. Game 5 against Boston was the first time I’ve ever been in uniform and didn’t get in. … As a competitor, I’m not going to say I was cool with sitting on the bench. But the ultimate goal is to win, and I understand we have a rotation that’s been working.”

TNT’s Reggie Miller said off air that Haslem “is going to have to play more minutes. He brings energy and toughness and that’s what you need against Joakim Noah, Taj Gibson and Omer Asik.”

In a 45-minute conference call, I had some time with TNT’s Reggie Miller, Steve Kerr and Marv Albert earlier this week, and the biggest concern they had for the Heat was rebounding. Kerr, in particular, said they’re stuck. If they play Zydrunas Ilgauskas, he’ll help offensively but will get drilled on the pick-n-roll by Derrick Rose. If they go with Joel Anthony, he’s not used to playing 35 or more minutes. The rest of the guys are too old. Miami almost has to play Haslem, even though he’s coming off a major foot injury, and hasn’t been a factor since November.

“He’s the one guy on that roster who’s kinda an energy, rebounder, tough guy,” says Kerr, “who can maybe combat this stuff.”

They have no other choice. He’s their most physical interior player. They have no one else to turn to.

“You can only do so much in practice,” said Haslem to the Miami Herald. “For me to take that next step, I have to get minutes.”

Miller felt Haslem could help, but thinks Miami just needs to play harder, and play as hard as they did against Boston.

“It was interesting,” Miller says. “During our game, we had a little bit of soundbite from Erik Spoelstra and it was almost like he was challenging his team a little bit by saying ‘if you really want to win this game and this series, it’s all going to come down to the little things.’ To me, the 50-50 balls, obviously it was well-documented. We talked about the 19 offensive rebounds for the Chicago Bulls. To me, that just comes down to effort.

“And we didn’t see that in Game 1.”

In that first game, Chicago had 31 second-chance points, and were plus-12 on the glass against the Heat.

What should Miami do?

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  • DH

    I don’t understand what Spo was doing. He said he sat Big Z and Dampier because he wanted speed and quickness, but he dusted of Magloire?

  • JAY

    @DH
    Spo sucks. Don’t try to apply logic to analyze his decisions. Apply stupidity, and it will all make sense.

  • johhny_hoopz

    MIA simply has to play harder…they;re too talented. Chicago didnt do anything special or mind blowing. They just played harder. simple as that.

    Heat in 6…

  • Ant

    Chi keeps the intensity up and they have this in the bag, all they have to do is win all games at home. Spo doesnt coach, the team doesnt respect him…theyre playing streetball…Chi’s coach is all about Defense….hes one of the reasons the Celts won their Chip against Lakers…

  • http://dimemag.com/2011/05/miamis-udonis-haslem-i-have-to-get-minutes/#comments Mike

    @johhny_hoopz Are u kidding me?! nothing special, how bout playng lock down D. The Heat are kinda average when u force them 2 play half court & the “Big 3″ don’t combine 4 85+

  • Chaos

    They need to play haslem. He Is well rested. He maybe a little rusty but he is that guy that can make the right plays. I would say use dampir and big z more but they are too stiff and don’t bring the kind of energy that gibson, asik, and noah bring. Thibodeau has the bulls always playing at an intensity level of 10 and miami goes from 4 to 9 when they feel like it. Haslem pushes them to play harder. Put him in!

  • http://www.newyorkshockexchange.com Shock Exchange

    SPRUNG! After his “encounter” with Taj Gibson, Dwyane Wade spotted wearing a Bulls jersey http://clicky.me/5Lcq … The technical term for empathyzing with your victimizer is “Stockholm Syndrome”, but my grandma would call it “Sprung like a screen door!”

  • Citizen B.

    Y’all sound like a bunch of chatty schoolgirls. The HEAT clearly blew the 2nd half of game 1. Chalk one up to the Bulls for taking them out of their offense and banging the glass…..but it won’t happen again.

    I think the HEAT thought that after Boston, they would just walk to the trophy. More play like the last series and they will be fine.

  • Big Freeze

    Haslem was right. He got more minutes, and he delivered. Those dunks were sick, and his energy on both sides is exactly what Mia needed. If Miami win this series and the finals, Haslem will be the missing piece.