Heat

Heat Start Oden, Get Big Games From Wade & Allen

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(Photo by Issac Baldizon/NBAE via Getty Images)

(Photo by Issac Baldizon/NBAE via Getty Images)

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Miami Heat

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The Miami Heat needed something to help them break out of their recent slump and between Dwyane Wade, Ray Allen, and Greg Oden; the Heat finally got into the win column Sunday afternoon.

Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra made some changes to his starting lineup Sunday when he sent seven-footer Greg Oden out to start the game. Oden played the first six minutes of the first and second halves for the Heat.

Oden didn’t score, but pulled down six rebounds and committed four personal fouls. Spoelstra said he liked what he saw out of the oft-injured big man, but is still unsure if the team will continue to use it going forward.

Oden isn’t scheduled to play in back-to-back games, according to Spoelstra, to allow his knees a chance to recover from each game. That makes establishing a rotation with Oden in it tricky, but according to Wade, the team needed something to shake it up a little.

“When you go through a stretch like that, you try to evaluate everything A to Z, what you just need to do better and do harder, but everything ends up being on the table,” Spoesltra said.

Oden’s progress down the stretch will be a key element for Heat fans to keep an eye on. If Oden can continue to slowly increase his minutes and get into a rhythm ahead of a likely matchup against the Indiana Pacers, it makes Miami that much more difficult to beat.

It also helps that Wade is continuing to shoot at a historic pace this season. For the season, Wade is shooting 55.1 percent from the field, which would be the highest for any shooting guard since the 1984-1985 season.

Wade’s improvement also allows LeBron easier paths to the basket, and vice-versa, as this play from the first quarter against Houston showed.

In addition, Wade is on pace to once again lead all shooting guards in the NBA for the fifth time in the past six seasons. Wade is shooting 53 percent on shots from 3-10 feet, 47.5 percent from 10 to 16 feet, and 55 percent when he posts up, all well above his career averages.

And with Ray Allen shooting 7-11 on the night and finishing with 25 points, it’s tough for any team to keep up with the Heat, even a talented team like the Houston Rockets. Finally, it also helps that Miami equaled Houston on the defensive glass and was outrebounded by just three on the offensive end.

(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Miami Herald contributed to this report.)

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