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5 p.m.: Heat demotes Shabazz; Spoelstra keeps experimenting; Wade, Bosh assess situation

Two months into this disappointing and disjointed Heat season marred by injuries and embarrassing home losses, Erik Spoelstra has tried most everything.

He moved Mario Chalmers to the bench, then back to the starting lineup.

He did the opposite with Norris Cole.

He often inserted Shabazz Napier late in games, now doesn’t use him at all.

He yanked James Ennis in and out of the rotation.

He now uses Chris Andersen as a starter after playing most of his career off the bench.

He played Shawne Williams as a starter, and then suddenly on Monday, not at all.

He kept Danny Granger in mothballs, strengthening his knees, then unleashed him for major minutes in the past week.

He inserted a player into the rotation (Hassan Whiteside) who began the season in the NBA’s Development League.

Many of moves have been necessitated by injuries. Others were made with the hope of jump-starting a team that has the NBA’s fourth-most home losses (12, compared with six victories).

Give Spoelstra credit for flexibility, but the bottom line so far has been humbling for a franchise coming off four consecutive Eastern Conference championships.

The Heat (14-18) awoke Tuesday four games below .500 for the first time since 2007-08, a season that ended 15-67. What’s more, Miami has slid to eighth in the Eastern Conference, just two games ahead of Boston and Orlando for the final playoff spot.

“We’re 30 some games in; It’s enough talking,” Bosh said before the team traveled to Indianapolis for Wednesday’s 3 p.m. game against the Pacers. “We’ve talked enough. It’s about getting the job done. We’re not doing it right now. It’s been up and down for the whole season. It’s not going to change until each person makes it change.”

Bosh hopes this latest lineup, with Andersen starting alongside him, gains some traction.

"Coach has a bunch of decisions to make,” Bosh said. “He has to do his job and figure things out just like we have to do our job and figure things out. He’s going to put the best group he feels needs to be out there. We have to respond as players. We haven’t done a very good job of that.”

Examining some of Spoelstra’s recent lineup decisions and where they stand:

### Andersen starting: Before this home stand that ended with Monday’s loss against Orlando, Andersen had come off the bench in 597 of 607 career appearances and in his first 125 games for the Heat.

But he started the past seven, six with Bosh sidelined by a calf injury and Monday’s game alongside Bosh. And Spoelstra said Tuesday that “we’ll probably stick with that for the time being” for continuity reasons.

The Heat went 2-5 in those games with Andersen starting, but Miami outscored opponents by 39 with Andersen on the floor in those games.

In those seven starts, Andersen averaged 23.5 minutes (well above his 17.9 career average and 19.4 last season), along with 8.0 points and 5.9 rebounds.

Dwyane Wade said Andersen “gives you another big defender, somebody to protect the rim” and starting him “lets Chris be a little bit more of a [power forward] and be able to use what he’s dynamic at with his shot ability and being able to drive.”

The Heat has shot 49 percent and outscored teams narrowly (by three points) in 87 minutes with Bosh and Andersen playing together this season.

### Point guard: Asked Tuesday about the Heat’s point guard play, Wade summed it up in four words: “It could be better.”

Chalmers has started the past six games but is mired in a 28 for 90 shooting slump and is down to 40.8 percent from the field, his lowest since 2009-10.

Cole is shooting 37.7 percent, among the worst for starting point guards. Napier is shooting 42.5 percent but has the worst assist-to-turnover ratio of any NBA point guard who has played more than five games (1.15 to 1) and hasn’t played in six games in a row.

Asked if he might give Napier another shot, Spoelstra said: “Everybody is available and everybody is an option. It’s my job to figure out what gives us the best chance to win.”

Update: Two hours later, the Heat sent Napier to its NBDL team in South Dakota. The Heat sent him there earlier this month, but he was there less than 48 hours because the Heat needed healthy bodies.

### Backup center: Whiteside has played in four in a row, with his minutes growing in each game, from 5 to 8 to 16 to 18. He has 17 rebounds --- including seven in each of the past two ---- and five blocks but also 10 fouls in those two.

For now, Spoelstra is opting for Whiteside instead of Udonis Haslem, who wasn’t summoned off the bench Monday. “He’s more than a development player,” Spoelstra said of Whiteside. “He gives us something different.”

### Backup forward jobs: Granger has justified his expanded minutes by scoring 18 and 21 in Miami’s past two games.

“We just knew about our track record with guys similar to Danny coming off of injuries about that age [31] that if they would commit to the work they might just need the right opportunity, the right place,” Spoelstra said. “He’s already ahead of schedule. We didn’t think this would happen until after the New Year. He’s been very diligent.”

Granger, who played 566 games for the Pacers, returns to Indiana on Wednesday for the first time since Indiana traded him to the Clippers last season. “It’s going to be a little weird for him to go back,” Wade said.

With Granger emerging, Spoelstra on Monday didn’t use Shawne Williams, who has started 22 games this season. “I had intentions of playing Shawne in the first half,” Spoelstra said. “Danny was playing well so I just went with it.”

The Heat will play seven of its next eight on the road, where Miami is 8-6.

On the road, there’s “no pressure of winning at home,” Wade said. “Go on the road trying to steal one. You can play a little freer. I look forward to seeing what this lineup can do consistently if we stay together.”

### Spoelstra on the 2-5 homestand: “There was better basketball being played than what our record shows and that’s disappointing.”

Please check back later tonight for a Wednesday buzz column with Dolphins, Canes and Marlins. Twitter: @flasportsbuzz