Heading into Monday's Game 7, I wondered whether Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra would continue a trend he started in Games 5 by taking minutes away from forward Shane Battier, who'd been struggled mightily with his outside shot against the Indiana Pacers, and continued in Game 6 by giving them to swingman Mike Miller, who came off the bench to provide a spark and a couple of 3-pointers.
Spoelstra doubled-down on the switch on Monday, going to Miller early (first-quarter Mike Miller minutes!) and often (17 minutes total, albeit without a bucket, though he did grab three steals and play with some energy), while keeping Battier fastened to the bench. The 12-year veteran didn't log a second in the Heat's 99-76 Game 7 win, his first DNP-CD since a Jan. 14 loss to the Utah Jazz.
So you can understand the Duke grad reacting thusly to a congratulatory fan:
Fan, to #Heat Shane Battier, who was benched in G7, as he left AAA: "Great game, Shane." Battier: "Thanks. But I didn't do anything."
— Sean Deveney (@SeanDeveney) June 4, 2013
Au contraire, Monsieur Battier. The TNT cameras clearly showed you doing something during a timeout on Monday:
See, that's just professionalism, right there.
Even when he's 2 for 15 from 3-point land in the series, been getting roasted by David West and removed from the rotation entirely, Battier's trying to find a way to contribute. Sometimes that means watching extra film. Sometimes that means telling a teammate you're seeing something amiss with a defensive rotation from the bench. And sometimes that means toweling off LeBron James' shoulder and arm so that he can feel unfettered by perspiration as he continues a brilliant 32-point, eight-rebound, four-assist, two-steal, Paul George-locking-up performance that sends your team back to the NBA Finals for the third straight year.
Shouts out to you, Shane Battier. You No-Sweat All-Star, you.
Video via Frank Den.
- Sports & Recreation
- Shane Battier
- Mike Miller
- Indiana Pacers