Chris Bosh, Difference Maker
The Miami big man was crucial in helping his team reach the NBA Finals.
by Nick Wilke / @Njwilke
Even though Chris Bosh is still not 100 percent healthy, his value to the Miami Heat should never be underestimated, and the Boston Celtics found that out in Games 6 and 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals. Just having Bosh back on the court makes this Heat team so much better because he affects the game in various ways. And after Game 7, Bosh was just happy that he could help his team move on to play another game.
“When you play like you don’t know there’s a tomorrow, you can play free,” Bosh said. “You can be yourself and just let everything go and play the game you love and that’s what I did tonight.”
After returning to the team in Game 5 and playing just 14 minutes, Bosh has been able to contribute in whichever way his team needs him to. Over the past two games, Bosh has logged 59 minutes, 26 points, 14 rebounds and 4 blocks. This may not seem like a lot, but it’s all the Heat needed from him at this point.
Heat coach Erik Spoelstra admitted that he was worried about going through the Playoffs without Bosh.
“Even though we didn’t admit it, we all had a pit in our stomach when we saw him walk off the court in Game 1 of the Indiana series,” Spoelstra said. “We all shuddered at the thought. We played tough, but we knew that for two years he’d been our most important player because he makes it all work and he showed up big. It’s a testament not only to his talent but his character, to be able to keep working, grinding, and allow us to work him back and integrate him slowly.”
Bosh has been preparing himself for this moment ever since he got injured in Game 1 of the East semifinals. First, he had to get his mind right and be mentally prepared to come back. And then, when he was able to work out again, that’s when he was able to get in the gym to prepare for this moment.
“I just wanted to get out there as soon as possible and contribute to this team,” Bosh said. “That’s all I kept thinking about from the moment I went out against Indiana. It was very deflating at first, but I just had to keep my mind. That was the biggest challenge I’ve ever had in my life, to make sure I stayed ready, so when the time did come I would be able to contribute instead of trying to get my legs under me and be a non-factor. I thought about it every day. I worked hard with the coaching staff and doctors and trainers.”
In Game 6, when his team was down 3-2 and one loss away from elimination, Bosh was ready to play more minutes. He only had seven points in that game, but he didn’t have to score that much in that game because all he had to do was get the ball into the hot hands of LeBron James, who scored 45 points on 19-26 shooting. Bosh affected the game on the defensive end with his length and mobility. He took away the open looks for KG and Bass by putting a hand in their face almost every time they shot. He also helped take away the driving lanes for Rondo and blocked a few shots.
Saturday night in Game 7, Bosh contributed to the win by knocking down a career-high 3 three-pointers. All of them were big shots. He finished with 19 points on 8-for-10 shooting with 8 rebounds. A few huge roars from him kept the Miami crowd hype, too.
Bosh has always been confident in his long-range shot and he picked the perfect night to showcase it in Game 7 with the season on the line.
“It’s been a good shot for me as long as I’m open,” Bosh said. “Whenever it’s needed I know I can go inside, but LeBron and Dwyane have it going so well, they needed somebody to space the floor. I was put in that situation and I told myself I was gonna do the best job I possibly can to bring that to this team.”
“Chris was big,” LeBron said. “The game ball automatically goes to him. Without his production tonight, we don’t win. To come off the bench for 19 and 8 was huge. We haven’t had that kind of firepower off the bench since we got here.”
The Heat will need that same effort and contribution—probably even more—from Bosh if they want to beat the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Eastern Conference Championship is really just another challenge for the Heat to overcome on their way to the Finals. The Miami Heat have been here before, but this time they intend on bringing the Larry O’Brien Trophy back to Miami for the second time in franchise history.
Game 1 of the Finals will be in Oklahoma City at 9 p.m. EST.