Reporting Tim Kephart
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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – For the first time since winning the NBA Championship in June, the Miami Heat will return to the home court to play Thursday night in the preseason home opener against the Detroit Pistons.
The game will be South Florida’s first chance to see the Heat’s newest additions to the roster: veteran guard Ray Allen and veteran forward Rashard Lewis. Allen was the highlight of the free agent class for the Heat and is expected to play a big role in the Heat’s offense this season.
Allen is arguably the greatest three-point shooter in NBA history and is expected to get plenty of wide-open looks as Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, and LeBron James all force defenses to collapse down to stop them from getting to the basket.
The Heat will be looking to tune up what is being called their small ball approach to the game. The Heat successfully transitioned LeBron James into an almost unstoppable power forward on the offensive end and plan on using him in a similar role this year.
The Heat’s starting lineup will have Mario Chalmers at the point, Dwyane Wade at shooting guard, LeBron James at small forward, Shane Battier at power forward, and Chris Bosh at center. However, head coach Erik Spoelstra has envisioned a position-less roster that is close to reality this season.
Bosh can extend the opposing big men out from the basket and open driving lanes for Wade, Chalmers, and James. LeBron can also post up and draw a double-team on the offensive end either kick the ball outside to Chalmers, Wade, Battier, Mike Miller, Ray Allen, and others, or take the ball to the basket.
But, the Heat will be exposed to teams that have athletic big men that can get to the basket. Detroit will provide a good test of the Heat’s philosophy as the team has star center Greg Monroe and first-round draft pick Andre Drummond.
Monroe has developed into one of the better big men in the Eastern Conference and if Drummond can develop behind him, Detroit has the makings of a very formidable front-court for the next few years.
Thursday’s game at the AmericanAirlines Arena tips off at 7:30 p.m., but will not be on television.