(Sports Network) - Expect Chris Bosh back on the floor Tuesday when the Miami
Heat try to hold serve against the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference
It's got to be all hands on deck for the struggling Heat, who trailed during
95 of the 101 minutes of basketball played in Boson over the weekend as the
Celtics evened the series at two apiece.
Bosh, who averaged 18 points and 7.9 rebounds in the regular season and had
been scoring 14.7 points and pulling down 6.8 rebounds in the postseason
before straining a lower abdominal muscle in the opener of the East semifinals
against Indiana, will likely be dusted off for Game 5 after being upgraded to
"day-to-day" by Miami coach Erik Spoelstra on Monday, more than three weeks
since the injury occurred.
"He'll get a vote," Spoelstra said when talking about Bosh's likelihood of
suiting up. "Everything is heightened right now. These are extreme
circumstances. Everybody will be involved in the decision, if and when it
happens. But you always have to take the player's opinion with a grain of
Obviously Miami has sorely missed Bosh, a key to the team's pick-and-roll game
on offense as well as an underrated defensive player who can create problems
for Celtics star Kevin Garnett thanks to his length.
From the moment word started to leak out that Bosh could play in Game 5, the
Heat have been trying to downplay it and will list the big man as a game-time
decision until he actually hits the floor.
"That will be a game-time decision," Spoelstra said at the team's shootaround
early on Tuesday. "He was able to go through a workout yesterday and a
shootaround today. We have to continue to evaluate."
That kind of gamesmanship isn't going to work on Doc Rivers, however. The
Celtics' mentor has been anticipating Bosh's return for days.
"We don't have to do anything different," Rivers remarked. "We've prepared
every game like Bosh is going to play. And eventually, he will. Chris is
obviously very talented and poses his own problems, but I don't think Kevin is
that concerned with whoever's there."
Rust figures to be a problem for Bosh but his presence alone changes the
complexion of the series even if he's not 100 percent. The Dallas native is
far more skilled than any of the other Heat big men and must be accounted for
at all times.
"Our offense has changed considerably with him out," Spoelstra said. "He's
been an anchor. Everybody knows that's been around our team is he's been a
That's an understatement. Since Bosh arrived in South Beach, the Heat have
gone 116-45 (a .720 winning percentage) with him in the lineup and just 12-11
(5-4 in these playoffs) when he's sidelined.
"We definitely to have to be aware," Celtics forward Paul Pierce said when
talking about Bosh. "He's another big scoring threat for them, a guy who can
really put up some big numbers on any given night. He stretches the floor with
his shooting and he can drive the ball. It's definitely somebody we got to be
Hindsight says the high-profile Heat suffered from a serious case of hubris
after winning the first two games of this set in South Florida.
What looked like a walk in the park for Miami has turned into a dogfight after
three short days in Boston thanks in large part to the fact that the Heat
thought they could get one in Beantown while continuing to rest Bosh with an
eye on the NBA Finals.
By all accounts Bosh has been telling the Heat that he's ready to play but the
team arrogantly dismissed the notion and underestimated a proud bunch of
Celtics, a resilient group with a championship pedigree.
Actions have consequences and Miami now finds itself playing in a miniseries
against perhaps the NBA's craftiest team with a point guard who happens to be
playing out of his mind.
The snowball is rolling down the hill aimed directly at the Heat and quickly
picking up steam. It's up to Bosh to step in front of it and take the biggest
charge of his life.
The Sports Network