In a series dominated by a MVP and the new “Big Three” of the NBA, all the attention has turned to a veteran bench player for Heat who looks to play a key role in capturing the Eastern Conference title and a trip to the NBA finals. Throughout all of the regular season, the Heat have relied on the Big Three of Chris Bosh, LeBron James and Dwayne Wade to lead them to an NBA Championship. After seeing the many aggresive defenses that have been thrown on them the Heat along with the critics knew that it would take more than the play of the three to win their rings. Through much of the year the Heat were looking for the key role player that would step up and take some of the offensive load off of them. 94 games later and what seems like the perfect timing, they found that player in aging big man Udonis Haslem.
Dressed in a pressed suit on the bench since he broke his foot on November 20th, Haslem was hoping to add depth to the Heat by playing a significant amount of minutes during their playoff run. Seeing his first action in Game 4 against the Boston Celtics, Haslem struggled trying to shake off the rust. But Game 2 against the Bulls seems to remind the Heat what they were missing during the time that he was out. He finished the game with 13 points and 5 rebounds and it was the offensive spark taht he provided in the 3rd quarter that seperated the Heat from the Bulls in a game full of defensive struggles.
Naturally James and Wade displayed their superstar ability with 29 points and 10 rebounds and 24 points and 9 rebounds respectively. With the inconsistent play of forward Chris Bosh, the Heat have looked for a big man that go play a key role for them. After being the third leading scorer for the Heat in a 85-75 win, Haslem’s play looks to be a key factor especially against the defensive minded teams that stand in the way of a Heat championship. His consistency looks to be tested in Game 3 on Sunday night in Miami.