The Miami Heat brought in LeBron James and Chris Bosh to join Dwayne Wade to create a super team that could dominate in the playoffs. But the question surrounding the team was: what role player will step up and take some pressure off the Big Three?
Well, Udonis Haslem was that guy on Wednesday night.
In Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Chicago Bulls, Haslem provided a spark with 13 points, and picked up the slack for Chris Bosh, who only scored 10 points, after a huge Game 1.
The Heat won 85-75 in Chicago to tie the series at one game apiece.
LeBron James led the Heat with 29 points and Dwayne Wade added 24 points.
Heat coach Erik Spoelstra called Haslem “an absolute championship warrior.”
After the Bulls Game 1 victory over the Heat, Spoelstra called for more energy from his players, and got that from Haslem, who only played three minutes in Game 2 against the Boston Celtics, and four minutes in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals.
Spoelstra said of Haslem: “I talked to him two days ago, and there was a look in his eye,” the Associated Press reported. “I’ve been through a lot of battles with that warrior, and I knew it was time to put him in.”
Haslem—a high-energy player—played in only 13 games during the regular season before suffering a foot injury.
“I was seeing guys running to the basket without anyone putting a body on them,” he said, according to the Associated Press. “My focus wasn’t on scoring tonight, it was defense and rebounding.”
He averaged 8 points and 8.2 rebounds per game during his brief time on the court.
During his eight-year career in Miami, Haslem has averaged 10 points and 8.1 rebounds per game.
He is the only player along with Dwayne Wade left from the Heats 2006 NBA Championship team that beat the Dallas Mavericks in six games.