Battier as glue guy is nothing new. Just ask Hubie Brown. Or Jeff Van Gundy. Or Lionel Hollins.
But Battier as power-forward glue guy?
Again, that's where the Heat, correctly, balked at getting caught up in delineations.
"I don't know," Spoelstra said. "We don't necessarily look at it that we're small. I know everybody calls it 'small ball.' We have two forwards, neither one of them is a power forward. One of them is as big as anybody, OK. Chris is as long as any other center.
"And we look at the benefits of the flip side of that. You've got to make decisions against us, as well."
The Thunder tried, and failed. The lane opened for LeBron. The perimeter opened for Battier, Chalmers, Miller and Jones. Perkins and Serge Ibaka no longer could simply stand tall in the paint, as they did against the Mavericks, Lakers and Spurs in the previous three rounds. Instead, they were sent in chase mode, unable to recover by the time LeBron was at the rim.
Granted, it is easier to play the versatility card when the versatility includes James, Wade and Bosh. But Brooks had Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and James Harden and never quite was able to create similar chaos, save for dramatic rallies in the first two games of the Finals.
So as the NBA goes on hiatus, with a new, unique champion now coronated, the questions become:
Has Pat Riley developed a better way?
Or does he simply have better players?
PBT: San Antonio found what worked and it’s on the Grizzlies to raise their level enough in Game 2 in San Antonio on Tuesday to get a split in the series.
PBT: Kevin Durant and other Thunder stars are sending their support to victims of the Oklahoma tornado.
Video: NBA from NBC Sports
Grizzlies ready for 'running' Spurs
DPS: Lionel Hollins tells us how he plans to play against the San Antonio Spurs in the Western Conference finals.
Latest from ProBasketballTalk
Get your NBA cheer on
Check out some of the dancers from the NBA.