Found June 10, 2013 on Fox Sports Florida:
SAN ANTONIO (AP) -- Moments after getting his championship ring on the night this NBA season opened last October, Mike Miller walked to midcourt, grabbed a microphone and addressed the delirious crowd. "The journey that starts tonight is going to be even more challenging," Miller said. At the time, Miller had no idea how prophetic those words would seem. Stuck on the Miami Heat bench for much of the year, laughing on the outside as little more than a coping mechanism designed to hide his frustration, Miller is getting plenty of time again in these NBA Finals. A star of last year's title series -- he made his first seven 3-point tries of Game 5, the clinching win against Oklahoma City -- Miller is relishing the chance to contribute to perhaps a second straight championship. "It's definitely been a good experience, but we've got a lot of basketball left," Miller said. Miller made all three of his 3-point attempts Sunday night in Miami's 103-84 victory that tied the series against the San Antonio Spurs at one win apiece. Game 3 is at San Antonio on Tuesday night. If the current trend continues, Miller will be the first sub off the bench for coach Erik Spoelstra. Over a 2-month stretch earlier this season, Miller saw first-quarter minutes exactly once. He's now gotten them in each of Miami's last three games, after taking the role that had been filled by Shane Battier, who was sent to the bench because of a shooting slump. "The little things," Spoelstra said when asked what Miller brings to the table. "He does a lot of those things. Very similar to Shane. Some of those things don't show up in a box score, but his effort, his hustle, extra efforts, closeouts. He has a knack for being around the ball. If you see a collision or loose ball, Mike likely is involved with it somehow, some way. You add all those up, those are winning plays." And he still can shoot, which helps. Miller's three shots from Game 2 might not seem like much, but they all came at key times. His first gave Miami a lead in the second quarter, and his two others helped fuel what became a 33-5 run. Miller was on the floor for all but the very first field goal in that massive Heat spurt. He replaced Dwyane Wade with 3:11 left in the third quarter, with the Heat up 63-62 pending a free throw by Mario Chalmers. When Wade returned and Miller came out with 7:43 left to play, it was 91-67. Wade's locker is next to Miller's, and at least once this year, Wade asked Spoelstra to find Miller some more minutes. The way Wade sees it, having Miller around without a spot for him to play has been "an amazing luxury" for the Heat this season. "I love it. I love seeing Mike Miller on the floor," Wade said. "I'm just as excited to see him as I am when I'm on the basketball court, because I know what he can bring to this team. And not even just his ability to shoot the ball, but his ability to rebound. Mike is an underrated playmaker as well." The problem with Miller's time has been that he's playing behind guys like Wade, Battier and Ray Allen. Good luck cracking into that rotation. Spoelstra was up-front and direct with Miller from the outset. "He told me from the beginning," said Miller, who entertained retirement talk after battling about a half-dozen injury issues last season but is now feeling as good as he has in years. "If you look around this locker room, I'm playing behind three Hall of Famers. So he's told me from the beginning that it's going to be spot and when he calls on my number I've just got to deliver." The Heat's "Little 12" -- as they tend to call themselves in a nod to Miami's "Big Three" of Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh -- have been delivering. "That's when they're at their best. That's when every team is at their best," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "When the perimeter is making shots, when the bench is playing well, when you have a lot of contributors, that helps you win basketball games." Look for more of it in Game 3. Obviously, and wisely, the Spurs' defensive game plan will revolve around James, Bosh and Wade. And what just about every team has encountered over the last three years is the pick-your-poison problem of either overloading on Miami's superstars and playing off the role players, or trying to play someone like James 1-on-1 and rolling some very tricky dice. "When Mike gets the ball, our shooters got the fluorescent light on our team," James said. "They're not even allowed to pass. When Ray and Mike get the ball, they have to shoot it. No matter how close the defenders are, they have to shoot it. When you have that leeway and that confidence, you just have to let it go." It's expected that the Heat will try to address their luxury-tax issues over the summer, and Miller knows that he's making too much money -- about 13 million over the next two years -- to have his game-night attire essentially adhered to the bench. He could be traded. He could be the player the Heat cut loose through their still-available amnesty provision. Or he could stay. All that might get sorted out in the coming weeks. For now, there's a second ring for Miller to chase. "I've got a lot of basketball left," Miller said. "It's the best I've felt in five years. That might have something to do with the fact I haven't played. Sometimes there's some light at the end of the tunnel even when you're frustrated. So I feel great and, knock on wood, it stays that way."
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
RELATED ARTICLES

NBA Fashion: Lebron James’ Game 1 NBA Finals BBC Small Helmet Polo

I’m loving the direction Billionaire Boys Club is going as their slowly transitioning their brand from streetwear to preppy, as they’ve introduce more classier pieces. NBA superstar Lebron James was spotted at the podium after game 1 of the NBA Finals wearing a green $80 Billionaire Boys Club Small Helmet Polo. Would you wear it ?? I’m kind of feeling this new ‘Vine’ thing...

LeBron James to be on the cover of NBA 2K14

Now the only question will it be as back to back champion or 1-3 in NBA Finals. Actually two questions, when will his romaine kick in. Ok I’m done.

Spurs Favored to Take Game 3 Despite Game 2 Dismantling at Hands of Heat

The Miami Heat have been the favorites to win the 2013 NBA championship since they wrapped up their celebration parade at the end of last season, but that’s not to say that the NBA odds for this year can’t still change. After splitting Games 1 and 2 in South Beach, the San Antonio Spurs have effectively rewritten the best-of-seven series heading into Game 3. The Spurs are negative...

Twitter Takes: Fans react to LeBron James’ huge block and dunk in Game 2

LeBron James' block on San Antonio's Tiago Splitter absolutely blew up American Airlines Arena, and it blew up the Twitterverse as well.

Daily Rundown: Big Run Evens Series for Heat

The Miami Heat used a 33-5 run that spanned the end of the third quarter and early fourth quarter on Sunday night to top the San Antonio Spurs 103-84 and even the NBA Finals at one game apiece. After forcing just four turnovers total in Game 1, the Miami Heat were the team to take [...]

2013 NBA Finals: The Kid Who Can’t Win, Despite Being King.

LeBron James isn’t running from his NBA destiny. I met LeBron James once. We were both 17 and in Las Vegas for an AAU tournament. He was just at the beginning of what would be an incredible and scandal-filled senior year. He wasn’t known nationally yet and unless you read SLAM Magazine religiously, you probably didn’t know who he was then either. James didn’t play in that...

Marshall Henderson is pumped for the ‘Pretty Little Liars’ season premiere

The Miami Heat are set to take on the San Antonio Spurs in a critical Game 3 matchup of the NBA Finals on Tuesday night, but Marshall Henderson has more important priorities to worry about. Henderson is a huge LeBron James fan, but he is too pumped for the Season 4 premiere of ABC Family’s [...]

LeBron James blocks Tiago Splitter's dunk attempt

(source feed provided no summary content for this entry)

LeBron talks to virtual self in weird ad

It could be that talking to a digital avatar of yourself on the Internet is something the Millennial Generation intuitively understands. Certainly the concept of an avatar that isn't really you requires no leap of the imagination, but that doesn't make it any less awkward for anybody. Take, for example, LeBron James -- King of the NBA and famous Millennial. In conjunction...

Chauncey Billups says he has interest in joining Heat

MIAMI The Miami Heat went after Chauncey Billups before last season but werent able to get him. They soon will have another chance. The veteran point guard will become a free agent July 1. He said he then will consider the Heat. Of course, I would have interest in Miami, of course, Billups told FOX Sports Florida after having received the NBAs inaugural Twyman-Stokes Teammate of...

LeBron James blocks Tiago Splitter dunk in nasty fashion (Video)

LeBron James absolutely ruined Tiago Splitter on an amazing block during the fourth quarter of Game 2 of the NBA Finals between the Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs on Sunday. The Spurs had the ball with the shot clock winding down and ran a pick and roll between Tony Parker and Splitter. Parker passed [...]

Spurs rout unrecognizable Heat

Game Two was the kind of game good teams have nightmares about. The defense and principals of a team break down and it leads to an onslaught of highlights and talk that makes a player and a team doubt itself. Especially when the stakes are so high. The only thing a team can do to fight all this off is to respond the next time out. San Antonio HAD to respond the next time out and...

LeBron, Heat rout Spurs in Game 2

LeBron James overcame a terrible start to finish with 17 points, eight rebounds and seven assists and the Miami Heat rolled to a 103-84 victory over the San Antonio Spurs on Sunday night to even the series at a game apiece.

Video: LeBron James’ Massive Block on Tiago Splitter’s Dunk Attempt

Wow...
Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.