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News » BEASLEY GIVING BENCH A SPARK ON OFFENSE


BEASLEY GIVING BENCH A SPARK ON OFFENSE


BEASLEY GIVING BENCH A SPARK ON OFFENSE
The Mike-rowave was heating up again in the second quarter Monday night. Then, after he simmered in the third and fourth quarters, he powered up when needed most in overtime.

Michael Beasley might be out of the Heat's starting lineup for now, but the rookie forward does seem to have a grasp of what to do when a boost is needed.

"I just get warmed up when I need to," he said in the wake of Monday's 19-point contribution in a 130-129 overtime win at Golden State. "I don't have a routine yet. I'm making one as I go along."

While a spot on the second team might not have been Beasley's preference when he was selected No. 2 in June's NBA Draft, he seems to be developing an instant-offense niche in a role he never previously held on any level.

"I like having a scoring punch off the bench," coach Erik Spoelstra said.

After scoring 17 second-quarter points in Saturday's 97-96 loss to the Clippers, Beasley scored eight on 3-of-3 shooting from the field and 2-of-2 accuracy from the foul line in Monday's second quarter.

Then, after being mothballed for much of the second half, largely due to foul trouble, he matched Dwyane Wade's five points in overtime, converting the game-winning free throw with 3.6 seconds to play, after stealing Golden State's inbounds pass.

While No. 1 overall pick Derrick Rose has been nothing but a starter for the Bulls, and while No. 3 selection O.J. Mayo has been the same for the Grizzlies, Beasley has accepted the respite from some of the confusion he had experienced as a starter.

"If that's how Coach wants to play me, then that's how I'm going to play," he said, acknowledging frustration over watching from the bench for so long in Monday's second half. "I'm not going to be uncomfortable with anything."

While Beasley is playing about eight fewer minutes as a reserve (21.7 compared to 29.9), his shooting percentage is up, while his rebounding and scoring averages are just about the same.

"Coach can hold me out for 38 minutes and play me the last 10 minutes of the game and I'm going to play," he said.

He paused and smiled.

"No," he added, "don't tell him that."

Spoelstra said the decision to shift Beasley to the bench was his, not Pat Riley's, and that the Heat president did not attempt to dissuade him.

"Pat's given me the autonomy," he said, "to make all the decisions with the team."

Beasley is not alone among top picks in his reserve role. No. 4 selection Russell Westbrook only now has moved into the Thunder's starting lineup, after making his first 17 appearances as a reserve. And No. 5 pick Kevin Love, like Beasley, has been bounced from the starting lineup, as he adjusts with the Timberwolves.

Spoelstra points out that a reserve role hardly is a badge of shame for a No. 2 selection. While 2007 No. 2 pick Kevin Durant started in all 80 of his rookie appearances, recent No. 2 selections such as LaMarcus Aldridge and Marvin Williams have played mostly as reserves as rookies.

"There's been plenty of examples," Spoelstra said. "I mean, LaMarcus Aldridge spent his first season on the bench and I think it helped his development. And I'm not even saying that that's going to happen with Michael. This lineup and the rotation is fluid."

Online

Relive the Heat's thrilling overtime win against Golden State with a photo gallery, and read Ira Winderman's blog labeling it one of the most exciting regular-season games in franchise history at SunSentinel.com/Heat

INFORMATIONAL BOX:

On second glance

How the past 10 No. 2 overall NBA Draft choices have been utilized during their rookie seasons:

Draft Player Team Start Reserve Min. 2008 Michael Beasley Heat 15 3 28.6 2007 Kevin Durant Sonics 80 0 34.6 2006 LaMarcus Aldridge Blazers 22 41 22.1 2005 Marvin Williams Hawks 7 72 24.7 2004 Emeka Okafor Bobcats 73 0 35.6 2003 Darko Milicic Pistons 0 34 4.7 2002 Jay Williams Bulls 54 21 26.1 2001 Tyson Chandler Bulls 31 40 19.6 2000 Stromile Swift Grizzlies 6 74 16.4 1999 Steve Francis Rockets 77 0 36.1 From the top

A look at how the top picks in June's draft have been utilized:

No. Player Team Start Reserve Min. 1 Derrick Rose Bulls 17 0 38.0 2 Michael Beasley Heat 15 3 28.6 3 O.J. Mayo Grizzlies 17 0 39.4 4 Russell Westbrook Thunder 1 17 26.9 5 Kevin Love 'Wolves 4 12 22.9 Ira Winderman Note: Statistics through Monday

INFORMATIONAL BOX:

Tonight Heat AT JAZZ

When: 9 p.m.

TV: SUN Radio: WINZ (940-AM), WEFL (760-AM), WQBA (1140-AM, Spanish).

Scouting report: G Dwyane Wade missed Tuesday's practice with a migraine, but is expected back for this morning's shootaround. ... The Heat is coming off Monday's 130-129 overtime victory at Golden State and is 2-2 on the five-game trip. ... Fs Dorell Wright (knee) and James Jones (wrist) are out for the Heat.

Ira Winderman


Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website: http://www.foxsports.com
Added: December 3, 2008

 

 
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