The numbers do not lie — the Miami Heat’s starting five with Mike Bibby and Zydrunas Ilgauskas was outscored by 39 points in the first round. By the 76ers starting five.
Every game — including Game 5 — the Heat would fall behind quickly, but in four of the games the Heat’s substitutes stabilized them, got them back in it (in Game 5 the Heat were down 11 inside of five minutes but a 14-0 run had the Heat ahead after the end of the first quarter). Four times the Heat went on to win.
Do that against the Celtics and it will cost the Heat games. And maybe the series.
The lineup with Miami’s big three with Ilgauskas and Bibby had an offensive rating of 89.9 (points per 100 possessions) and a defensive rating of 125.2 (via NBA statscube). That lineup would average 79 points per 48 minutes shooting 39.4 percent.
Swap in Chalmers and Anthony and the offensive rating becomes 128 (points per 100 possessions) and the defensive rating 86. This lineup would score 108.8 points per 48 minutes shooing 54.2 percent.
The matchups will be different with the Celtics, particularly with Jermaine and maybe Shaquille O’Neal Heat coach Erik Spoelstra will be tempted to go with the size of Big Z rather than the 6’9” Anthony in the middle. And Big Z did provide some offense.
But Spoelstra knows how much better his team is playing when Bibby and Ilgauskas sit — there’s a reason he took them out after 4:27 in Game 5 Wednesday and they never got back on the court.
He needs to make a change with the starters. Falling 10 points back of the Celtics is a much harder hole to climb out of than it is against Philly.