Fatigue will not be a factor for the youthful Miami Heat in Game 6, says BJ Armstrong.
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Head coach Erik Spoelstra used a seven-man rotation in Miami’s 111-108 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 5 on Friday night, with Jimmy Butler playing all but 49 seconds of the game.
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Starters Jae Crowder, Duncan Robinson and Bam Adebayo – ailing with neck and shoulder issues – all played more than 37 minutes while rookies Tyler Herro and Kendrick Nunn played 30 minutes off the bench as the Heat reduced the Lakers series lead to 3-2.
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With a 48-hour turnaround between games and the intensity of the series rising, could fatigue be an issue for the Miami players after their herculean efforts in Game 5?
Three-time NBA champion Armstrong, for one, has no such concerns. Speaking on Sky Sports Arena after the Heat’s Game 5 win, he said: “I’m not (worried), just because of the age (of the Heat players). This is a young group, this is a group playing with a sense of desperation.
“We talk about playing while being aware of the moment. These Miami guys can play 48 minutes, 55 minutes, it doesn’t matter, this team is ready to play.
“I am so impressed with what the Heat were able to do in Game 5. (Miami) coach Erik Spoelstra, what does he do? He allows his young players, his guards, to readjust and set the screens so their star player, Jimmy Butler, can get to his spot. You saw Butler getting to his spaces of the floor where he is comfortable. Offensively, it worked.
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Armstrong said the biggest concern stemming from Game 5 relates to the Lakers and their All-Star forward Anthony Davis.
“The Lakers are going to be concerned with one thing: what is the health of Anthony Davis? From what I could see, he didn’t look healthy at the end of Game 5,” he said. “That may be a key issue for the Lakers and their fans.”
The Lakers have officially listed Davis as questionable for Game 6, although the player has said he expects to play.
Armstrong’s fellow analyst Mo Mooncey added the manner of Miami’s victory in Game 5 should raise some alarms for the heavily-favoured Lakers.
“Here is where (the outcome of) Game 5 gets a little bit scary for the Lakers fans,” he said. “Duncan Robinson really stepped up for Miami, but Jae Crowder only shot 2-of-9 and Bam Adebayo only put up 13 points.
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“We know those guys are better than that. If Robinson can repeat his performance, Crowder can step it up and Adebayo can get back to his usual self, then we are in for another treat in Game 6.”
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