Heat tie team record with 30th starting lineup of season
MIAMI (AP) It's now a record-setting season for the Miami Heat, in a way they never envisioned.
The Heat tied a franchise record by using their 30th starting lineup of the season Tuesday night when they played host to the San Antonio Spurs, a rematch of the past two NBA Finals.
Miami also used 30 lineups in the 2007-08 season.
''It's basketball and we're into the competition,'' Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. ''We know what we're playing for. I get it. Everybody likes the story line right now. We have enough to play and that's what we're focused on right now. ... It's not about the injuries. It's not about who's not here. Guys want to compete, tonight.''
Miami hasn't had any five-man grouping start more than 11 games all season. Tuesday's lineup of Dwyane Wade, Goran Dragic, Henry Walker, Chris Andersen and James Ennis was the 17th to have exactly one game of usage to this point.
Miami has also had 18 different players start a game this season - and of those, five no longer play for the Heat and two have been ruled out for the remainder of the regular season, with Chris Bosh sidelined because blood clots on a lung and Josh McRoberts not expected back because of a knee problem that has kept him out since the season's early going.
Spoelstra has had to scramble most nights just to figure out who's available. He's used the third-most starting lineups in the league this season, behind only Philadelphia (37) and New York (34).
''It should be common knowledge by now that he's an excellent coach,'' Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said before the game. ''He knows what wins and loses. He's comfortable in his own skin.''
The NBA average for lineups so far this season is 17.6, based on numbers provided by STATS.
Tuesday marked just the second time Ennis was slotted into Spoelstra's starting lineup. He also started a game in Atlanta on Nov. 14 alongside two players - Norris Cole and Shawne Williams - who are no longer with the Heat, along with Luol Deng and Bosh.
Deng missed Tuesday's game with a knee issue. Udonis Haslem (flu) and Shabazz Napier (hip) were also out for the Heat, along with Bosh and McRoberts.
''We'll have enough,'' Spoelstra said, repeating a line he's used often this season.