Jun 12 2012 12:19PM

Let's Play Smallball


Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE/Getty Images

Oklahoma City was hesitant to play smallball against Miami in the regular season (14 minutes in a 5-point loss April 4; 5 minutes in a 16-point win March 25).

But judging from the Thunder's postseason success with playing Kevin Durant at the 4 spot--not to mention the Heat's similar ventures with LeBron James at power forward--you can expect both teams to throw out smallball-for-smallball lineups in these 2012 NBA Finals.

The Heat, which only played center Joel Anthony 24 minutes in two games versus the Thunder this year (almost half his 21-minute average), will likely counter with many lineups where LeBron James becomes the Miami power forward, playing alongside a lone postman, either All-Star Chris Bosh, Joel Anthony, Udonis Haslem or Ronny Turiaf.

Because this could become a prevalent theme this series, I thought I would post the 2011-12 regular-season and playoff adjusted plus minus scores of the Thunder and Heat's most popular smallball units.

OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER SMALLBALL COMBOS ... REGULAR-SEASON APM (MINUTES) ... PLAYOFFS APM (MINUTES)

Derek Fisher/ Russell Westbrook/ James Harden/ Kevin Durant/ Nick Collison ... +41.39 (57.12 minutes) ... +15.99 (47.85 minutes)

Russell Westbrook/ James Harden/ Thabo Sefolosha/ Kevin Durant/ Kendrick Perkins ... -11.79 (74.72 minutes) ... +3.47 (17.78 minutes)

Derek Fisher/ Russell Westbrook/ James Harden/ Kevin Durant/ Kendrick Perkins ... +22.67 (24.38 minutes) ... +1.45 (36.38 minutes)

Derek Fisher/ Russell Westbrook/ James Harden/ Kevin Durant/ Serge Ibaka ... N/A (5.88 minutes) ... +25.96 (45.25 minutes)

Derek Fisher/ Daequan Cook/ James Harden/ Kevin Durant/ Nick Collison ... -14.04 (22.73 minutes) ... -14.04 (22.73 minutes)

MIAMI HEAT SMALLBALL COMBOS ... REGULAR-SEASON APM (MINUTES) ... PLAYOFFS APM (MINUTES)

Mario Chalmers/ Dwyane Wade/ Shane Battier/ LeBron James/ Joel Anthony ... -5.16 (69.85 minutes) ... +8.37 (91.48 minutes)

Mario Chalmers/ Dwyane Wade/ Shane Battier/ LeBron James/ Udonis Haslem ... N/A (15.17 minutes) ... +9.44 (91.73 minutes)

Mario Chalmers/ Dwyane Wade/ Shane Battier/ LeBron James/ Chris Bosh ... +10.77 (53.55 minutes) ... +3.07 (54.90 minutes)

Norris Cole/ Shane Battier/ Mike Miller/ LeBron James/ Udonis Haslem ... +24.27 (77.70 minutes) ... +20.65 (1.32 minutes)

Mario Chalmers/ Dwyane Wade/ Shane Battier/ LeBron James/ Ronny Turiaf ... N/A (2.45 minutes) ... +9.58 (65.73 minutes)

Source: BasketballValue.