Originally posted on Fox Sports Florida  |  Last updated 6/13/13
SAN ANTONIO --It's a decision that could make or break the Miami Heat's chances of winning a second straight title.With his team trailing 2-1 in the NBA Finals, ESPN.com reported Heat coach Erik Spoelstra is considering starting Mike Miller in place of Udonis Haslem in Thursday nights Game 4 in an effort to space the floor with another shooter and help LeBron James. It would be a lineup Spoelstra has used just twice this season.It would be a gutsy move by Spoelstra. If it works, he would look like a genius. If not, he would be second guessed by those wondering why the Heat went away from what was the regular lineup for most of a 66-16 regular season, which featured a 27-game winning streak, and this postseason. After Thursday mornings shootaround, Spoeltra was asked if Miller, a swingman who has shot 10 of 11 from 3-point range in the Finals, would be in line for more a bigger role. Hes already has been a big part, Spoelstra said. Hes playing good minutes so whether thats more, the game will dictate.The 6-foot-8 Miller shot 5 of 5 on 3-pointers for 15 points in 22 minutes in Tuesdays 113-77 Game 3 loss. He was one of the few bright spots for the Heat.Hes giving us everything hes got, Spoelstra said. Those efficient and impactful bursts are the key.Miller started 17 games during the regular season, mostly filling in at shooting guard when Dwyane Wade was hurt. The Heat went 13-4 in those games.If Spoelstra ends up starting Miller in place of power forward Haslem, he would join center Chris Bosh, small forward James and guards Wade and Mario Chalmers. The Heat then would be able to space the floor and perhaps open up things up more for James, who has gone against a San Antonio defense that is packing the paint to not allow him easy baskets. James is averaging just 16.7 points on 38.9 percent shooting in the series.Miller certainly could help the Heat if he remains hot from 3-point range. However, it remains to be seen how many effective minutes Miami could get out of Miller, who didnt play a great deal during the regular season and hasnt logged more than 23 in any playoff game.Miller is a solid rebounder but he doesnt have the bulk of the 6-8 Haslem. If Miller were to start, the Heat would be giving up something in the post to start the first and third quarters against San Antonio's big pair of Tim Duncan and Tiago Splitter.But Game 4 is a must win for the Heat. If they lose, they would fall behind 3-1, a deficit no team ever has overcome in the Finals.If Miller starts Thursday, it would show desperation time truly has arrived.Chris Tomasson can be reached at christomasson@hotmail.com or on Twitter @christomasson
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