Heat, adjustments await Bosh’s return

BOSTON – It has become the equivalent of “How ya doin’?” when people first see Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra, a salutation by rote. Only in this case, what Spoelstra hears is “What’s the latest on Chris Bosh?” Or, depending on the day of the week, “Is Chris playing tonight?”

So Spoelstra went preemptive after the Heat’s shootaround Sunday morning at TD Garden.

“Why don’t I start it off by saying, Chris is still indefinite. He’s not playing tonight [in Game 4],” Spoelstra said. “Everybody else is ready to go.”

Bosh, the Heat’s All-Star power forward, has been unavailable since Game 1 of the last round with a lower abdominal strain. His absence appeared to be felt most acutely in Miami’s next two games when it fell behind the Indiana Pacers 2-1 in their Eastern Conference semifinal series. But then LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and the rest strung together five consecutive victories, eliminating the Pacers and going up 2-0 on Boston in the East finals as they seemingly adjusted to Bosh’s absence.

Meanwhile, Bosh was recovering and rehabbing. He finally joined the Heat on the trip to Boston for Games 3 and 4 this weekend, and participated in the team’s prep work as a stand-in for Celtics big man Kevin Garnett. Spoelstra observed one of Bosh’s individual workouts, which has involved both rehab and basketball drills, but continues to classify the third of Miami’s Big Three as “indefinite.”

Still, Boston’s and Garnett’s play in Game 3 made Bosh conspicuous again by his absence – the Celtics outrebounded Miami44-32 and scored 58 points in the paint as Garnett went almost unchallenged in using his length to receive the ball and score.

There are some who believe Bosh won’t be available at all this spring, no matter how long Miami’s playoff run lasts. Others – all of this speculation is going on outside the Heat’s inner circle, mind you – have pointed to The Finals as a target for his return. But what if they all don’t get that far? What if they face elimination against Boston and the Celtics continue to control things inside?

That could fast-track an attempt by Bosh to play and, if he were to hold up physically, shift the concerns to how he suddenly would fit back into Miami’s offense and defense. Just as the Heat haven’t had Bosh to protect the rim or demand attention from the Celtics’ defense, so James and Wade haven’t had to serve his shot totals or navigate around him down low. Boston coach Doc Rivers feels Miami has adapted completely, making its two superstar wing players more dangerous than ever.

“We’ll gladly cross that bridge when we get there,” Spoelstra said prior to Game 3. “For the last two years … we couldn’t play effectively without Chris. HE was our most important player. And we’ve had to make adjustments on the fly and reinvent ourselves, it seems, like daily to do that.”

Oft-injured swingman Mike Miller isn’t as important in Miami’s scheme as Bosh but he certainly knows the adjustments required on both sides when someone who’s been hurt returns to action.

“There will be adjustment periods, not for us as much as for him,” Miller said Sunday morning. “Just for getting back into the flow of aggressive, physical basketball. When he gets back, we’re right in the middle of the Eastern Conference finals. It’s not like you’re going into a regular season game. But he’ll be fine.

“He’s too talented to [be stopped] by that and once he gets his rhythm back he’ll be really good. We need Chris.”


  1. jay says:

    i believe Miami will win the ECF easily even w/o Bosh as long as the Bench will step up & do their job precisely.
    But MVP-LBJ & D-Wade heat’s super stars enough to do that in a hard way!!!

  2. spelkey55 says:

    If they bring Bosh back less than 100% he will be a losing factor rather than a winning factor because KG will take advantage of him.

  3. jhay-mie reasonda says:

    this figth is unfair because lineup is not match and no chris bosh i anger because boston is not desevr to win over miami heat

    • fanofafan says:

      Dictionary and Spell Check use them next time and who are you to say Boston doesn’t deserve to win a championship after the long strenuous season they’ve had?

  4. LJbraNDED says:

    the hot heat will win on the (ECF) against the cooling celts the mvp LBJ and D-wade will bring a won from miami team without bosh

  5. CB4dWIN says:

    Pretty obvious that they need him now. I don’t get why almost all Heat fans think that the Celts would just roll over and wilt away. The Heat fare better than the hobbling Celts. Wade is suffocating from double-teams and the more minutes and mileage does not bode well for his aching ankles. Other than LBJ, there ain’t a single offensive threat that the Heat can throw at the Celts..

    Rondo is picking them apart while Garnet enjoys a free ride inside the painted area. Pierce being as consistent as his ever been and while Ray might be slowed down by injuries, the Celts are gritting it out and making the Heat doubting…

  6. Jjohn Cornhole says:

    They don’t need him yet..

  7. justin says:

    without bosh they can not win the ring

  8. temesghen says:

    i don’t care what anybody says Miami will win the series then win the NBA title.

  9. 305 says:

    It’s unfortunate that Miami has been battling through these playoffs without Chris Bosh. He really gives the team that extra cushion down low and alleviates the scoring responsibilities of Bron and Wade. But still, the Heat are up in the series and even Roy Hibbert thinks they’ll take game 4. It really shows the resilience of the Heat as a team. I bet if other teams lost their main big men (e.g. Celtics losing Garnett, Spurs losing Duncan, Thuder losing Ibaka) to injuries they would be nowhere as competitive as they are now.

  10. The Maestro del Cielo! says:

    Bosh will definitely help the Heat! His interior presence is definitely needed! He reminds me of Pau Gasol! Smart player! Takes good post up shots and rebounds the basketball! He will give the Celtics a problem in the paint! I think that has been lacking for the Heat! Lebron and D-Wade have had to do too much!

  11. Onichaan says:

    Chris Bosh is definitely missed,but thinking of LBJ’s and DWade’s hunger for championship is unfathomable.. they’ll explode, give the BEST SHOT may it be against young OKC or boring Spurs, a mild bump on the road against Celts but will surely get another berth for The Finals. A little anxiety here about their chances but am giving 100% FAITH! LET’s GO HEAT!

    • NBAfan says:

      Bosh is an all star caliber player…he seems like the odd man out in a team that has superstars like Lebron and Wade, but lets face it, they need him! 2-2 right now.

  12. john says:

    Heat for win tonight…even bosh is out of the game…his energy is reserved at the finals…..