Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Canadian Joel Anthony Making Defensive Mark with Offensive Powerhouse Heat: Anthony a Good Defensive Fit for Heat

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Canadian Joel Anthony Making Defensive Mark with Offensive Powerhouse Heat: Anthony a Good Defensive Fit for Heat

Article excerpt

TORONTO - Being the defensive engine on a team fuelled by a sensational offence isn't a glamorous job -- but it's one Miami Heat centre Joel Anthony relishes.

The six-foot-nine Montreal native posted a truly unspectacular stat line in Friday's 113-101 win over the Toronto Raptors, going without a shot attempt while pulling down just one rebound and adding a steal in 27 minutes of action.

The final numbers don't exactly jump out -- certainly not in the way that Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade and LeBron James combining for 86 points does -- but Anthony's staunch post defence helped the Heat finish with a 64-36 advantage in points in the paint.

That lock-down defensive presence is a necessity for a guy who averages a paltry 3.2 points in just over 22 minutes this season. And it's precisely what has landed Anthony one of the most unheralded gigs in the NBA -- the grind-it-out caretaker for one of the league's most impressive offensive showcases.

"Part of the identity of this team for years has been that it's been a strong defensive team," Anthony said prior to the game. "I obviously fit well with a defensive team."

The Heat have employed a bit of a centre carousel over the past season and a half, with Anthony the only reliable option of the bunch. Miami completely overhauled its frontcourt in the off-season, handing Anthony the starting role while replacing current Raptor Jamaal Magloire, Erick Dampier and Zydrunas Ilgauskas with Ronny Turiaf, Dexter Pittman and Eddy Curry.

On a team featuring three all-stars and a collection of role players, Anthony prides himself in being a vital part of the club without compromising the contributions of stars James, Wade and Bosh.

"I think what I'm able to do complements the other stars," Anthony said. "We have some other guys that are able to get their own shots and obviously do great things with the basketball, so I'm just playing my role.

"I try to do my job in terms of trying to help them as much as I can the same way that they're able to help me."

Heat coach Erik Spoelstra raved about what Anthony has brought to the club since signing in 2007 as an undrafted free agent out of UNLV. …

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