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I Can’t Wait to See Who Steps up Next For Miami

Last week, coinciding with the start of the NBA playoffs, the FanSided network added the Hardwood Paroxysm website, a partnership that, as per the released statement, would “allow for some of the most innovative NBA coverage to date.”

HP followed up the announcement by releasing a week-long series of pieces about the NBA and, more specifically, the playoffs. Each piece’s headline began with, “I Can’t Wait…”, in anticipation of the best two-month stretch of professional basketball.

Following the Miami game 1 victory over the Charlotte Bobcats, allow me to indulge in my own ode to the promise of a prolonged Heat run in the playoffs.

I can’t wait to see who steps up next for the Heat.

It’s been too easy over the past four years, ever since LeBron’s reviled announcement and the celebration that followed it, to simply look at Miami as three very good players…and 12 others that happen to wear the same uniform.

But, in our own little Heat-centric corner of the Basketball Universe, those of us that cover and follow the team more closely recognize the regular contributions of those less-heralded players, particularly in the postseason.

Who can forget Mike Miller’s heroics in the 2012 NBA Finals, almost single-handedly eliminating the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game 5 of Miami’s second championship?

Or last season, obscured by one of the most iconic shots in NBA history, the performance of Shane Battier against the San Antonio Spurs?

And, whether it’s knocking down Indiana Pacers players or shots along the baseline, Udonis Haslem’s contributions have made him the heart and soul of the Miami Heat.

So, in both a surprising move and one that should be completely expected, James Jones delivered a great performance in Sunday’s victory over the Bobcats that will likely be buried in Heat playoff lore.

Jones started six games this year, playing in a total of 20 games and logging only 236 minutes all season. But he was inserted into the Bobcats game with the Heat trailing and with regular rotation players having off games and he did what professionals are supposed to do; make immediate contributions.

Two quick rebounds, an assist on a Chris Bosh jumper, a layup (!) which was followed by a drawn foul from beyond the 3-point line. His final stat line was far from the story of the game but he definitely added a few key paragraphs, just as Heat players have always done in this wonderful four-year ride.

14 minutes, 12 points, 4-of-6 shooting, 3 rebounds and an assist. And, more importantly, 1 more win on the road to a third consecutive championship.

Whether facing a feisty Bobcats team that might be moving on – and out – without their best player at full speed or taking on veteran rivals in Brooklyn or Indiana further down the road, you can be sure that a forgotten player on Miami’s bench will find some way to make an impact.

Chris Andersen. Rashard Lewis. Perhaps even Battier and Haslem, again. Or, hopefully, this year’s feel-good reclamation tandem of Michael Beasley and Greg Oden. One never knows who will step up on this deep, talent-loaded team of professionals.

But it will happen. And I can’t wait to see it when it does.

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Tags: James Jones Shane Battier Udonis Haslem

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