Reporting Tim Kephart
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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – When Chris Bosh was moved to the center position in the starting lineup, the Miami Heat hoped Udonis Haslem would rise to the challenge and become a quality contributor on both ends of the floor.
So far, that hasn’t happened and despite being a starter, his minutes are starting to erode during the playoffs. Haslem is averaging just 17.5 minutes per game in the playoffs even though he starts.
Haslem has been his normal self grabbing every rebound he can get to, but he’s struggling on the offensive end of the floor. He’s averaging just 3 points per game and is shooting just 41 percent in the series against the Knicks.
The former Florida Gator used to be money on a medium range jumpshot, but this year he’s struggled to get his game going and shot 7 percent lower than his career average during the regular season.
Still, Haslem’s defensive intensity keeps him on the floor. He’s averaging 6.3 rebounds per game in the playoffs, which is in-line with his regular season average of 7.3 rebounds per game. Haslem proved his worth last year in the playoffs against the Chicago Bulls.
The Heat have envisioned the closing lineup for the team would be LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Mike Miller, Udonis Haslem and Chris Bosh, a Big Five if you will. With that lineup on the floor, teams have had a hard time stopping the Heat.
The Heat have the ability this year to run that lineup out there, but if Miller and Haslem continue to struggle from the field, it’s going to make the journey that much more difficult for the Big Three.