For the first time in six seasons, Udonis Haslem is not cast as the Heat's starting power forward. Instead, Michael Beasley has moved into the starting lineup at power forward, after spending most of last season coming off the bench at that position, while Quentin Richardson, somewhat surprisingly, was named the starting small forward.
Until the season opener against the Knicks, Haslem had come off the bench only twice over the previous five seasons. Now, Friday's game in Indiana against the Pacers will make it that many this season, alone.
Haslem was subdued about playing as a reserve for the first time since his 2003-04 rookie season, when he played behind Lamar Odom.
"I've learned a lot of valuable lessons, and one of the valuable lessons that I've learned is don't worry about things you can't control," he said. "That wasn't in my control. I didn't make that call, so that's nothing I'm going to worry about.
"I've been the ultimate team player; I've made the ultimate sacrifice throughout my career. It's just another situation where I've been asked to do it again."
Haslem said he will move forward in support of Beasley. He also is expected to back up Jermaine O'Neal at center.
"Basketball is just basketball, no matter what role you play, or what position you play in," he said. "So, we'll go out there and we'll do what we've got to do. It is what it is."
HEAT 115, KNICKS 93: The Heat made the most of Dwyane Wade's support system, with Jermaine O'Neal and Michael Beasley taking care of matters inside in the season opener. O'Neal went for 22 points and 12 rebounds, while Beasley scored 21. For at least one night, 10-of-22 shooting was more than enough from Wade.
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