Second guessing coaches is bound to happen, especially after a 3 game losing streak. So I was a little reluctant to post this and add to the cliche. But it needs to be said. Miller needed to come out of the game at the beginning of the 4th quarter. Using the 3 guard lineup was the WRONG thing to do at that point in the game. We needed more than solid defense, we needed STOPS, STEALS, and REBOUNDING.
You can tell me that hindsight is 20/20. Except that I was calling for the substitution when we went down by our largest margin at the end of the 3rd quarter. Rudy or Cunningham would have given us size on defense, jump shooting on offense, and rebounding on both ends of the floor.
Cunningham has proven himself to be a talented, smart, and worthy of the opportunity to play. Rudy is now a veteran of late game heroics, and clutch three pointers. Why not give those players a chance to gain experience and potentially overcome a large defecit. Even if we still lose the game, we're investing in our future performance. What did we gain in terms of development by sending Miller 1 on 1 for either a turnover or free throws, over and over and over? Nothing.
Nate has shown himself to be very wise in many respects. When it comes to developing young talent, managing egos, and commanding player's respect, he's one of the best. But he has also shown a pattern of stubborn substitution patterns, questionable matchup decisions, and player favoritism, even going back to many games last year.
Did the Blazer's deserve to lose? Yes. They played terrible perimeter defense for 75% of the game, and terrible interior defense whenever Oden was on the bench. Did the Heat deserve to win? Yes. They built a lead, played hard to maintain it, and let their best players seal the game with clutch scoring. But does that excuse Nate from any blame for leaving a bad lineup in the game well past the point of reason? No.