Bench vs. Bench
Depth is one of Brooklyn’s biggest strengths. They’re two deep with legitimate players at every position. Their backup five is Shaun Livingston, Jason Terry, Andrei Kirilenko, Reggie Evans, and Andray Blatche, with Alan Anderson possibly switching in for Terry. That may be the best “bench 5” in the league. If that were a starting 5, that team would be bad, but not historically bad. (Well, maybe on defense. Kirilenko would have a lot of work to do.) Even with Kirilenko slated to sit most of tonight’s game out, they’ve still got a ton of options off their bench.
The Heat have a few key cogs on their bench. Shane Battier is one of the league’s smartest defenders and a corner three specialist. Ray Allen is the best three-point shooter ever. Norris Cole has had a red-hot start to the season. If he ever gets off the bench, Greg Oden played another professional opponent in preseason for the first time since 2009 and dunked on his first possession. Chris Andersen is a good shotblocker and possibly crazy person. Michael Beasley is a human with an NBA contract.
But there’s no doubt who wins out here. If the Nets lose any one of their starters, it’ll hurt them, but they’ve also got a ton of firepower to mitigate the damage. The Heat don’t have the same luxury.