Without Bam Adebayo (personal reasons), Heat could turn to Udonis Haslem for help against Pistons

Heat forward Udonis Haslem has played in nine games this season. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

MIAMI – Aside from missing guards Tyler Johnson and Wayne Ellington, the Heat will be without backup big man Bam Adebayo tonight against the Pistons.

Johnson and Ellington are recovering from quad bruises and Adebayo is out for personal reasons.

Without Adebayo against a Pistons team that features a front line of 6-foot-11 Andre Drummond and 6-10 Blake Griffin, center Hassan Whiteside will need some help from more than just Kelly Olynyk, and that could come from a familiar, but sometimes forgotten, face.

“You better believe UD is somebody I feel very comfortable throwing into a game like this,” coach Erik Spoelstra said about 37-year-old Udonis Haslem.

“He’s played against Drummond before. He’s very familiar with games in this kind of context as well.”

Haslem has played 49 minutes this season, spread over nine games, for the eight-seeded Heat (32-30). He has five points and six rebounds. The Pistons, ninth in the East (29-33), play at a much slower pace than the Lakers, who ran the Heat out of AmericanAirlines Arena Thursday in a 131-113 victory. While the Lakers have the fastest pace in the league Detroit is 21st, seven spots ahead of the Heat.

Heat guard Goran Dragic said he would not be surprised to see Haslem contribute.

“I know UD, I spend a lot of time with him,” Dragic said. “He  understands the game so well. He’s in great shape. He’s probably the lowest body fat of the guys. You know what you can get from him, he’s always in the right spot, he has a lot of experience, he can give you quality minutes. I would love to see him out there.”

Spoelstra said Olynyk will return to the bench after starting and missing all five of his shots and going scoreless against the Lakers, primarily to give him a backup center. He is unsure who will start but he could go with James Johnson to cover Griffin or – if he’s comfortable with Justise Winslow guarding Griffin – he could start Rodney McGruder with Winslow sliding back down to power forward.

Olynyk has played two games since missing three weeks with a strained left shoulder. He played 25 minutes off the bench against the 76ers, scoring nine points, before struggling against the speedy Lakers.

“It probably wasn’t necessarily fair on our part to throw him into the starting lineup like that,” Spoelstra said. “He’s going to be in so much better rhythm with each game he plays. You can’t understate when a player misses time. Not to make an excuse but there is an adjustment period when he comes back. There is nothing like 5-on-5 game action.”

But whether it’s James Johnson or Winslow or anybody else helping out Whiteside against the leading rebounder in the league – Drummond with 15.8 per game – and guarding Griffin, Spoelstra said this game will be by committee up front.

“The depth of our roster is probably in the frontcourt,” he said. “It’s not easy having Bam miss a game. That’s quite a statement 60 games in that he would have that prominent of a role. But we have very capable others. That’s one of the reasons I want to bring KO off the bench more at the center position than the four position.”

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