- Series Hub: Spurs-Heat
SAN ANTONIO – We apparently have reached the reverse psychology phase of The Finals, where the adjustments and counter-adjustments have gone from the Xs & Os of the whiteboard to the inner game of participants’ minds. And Miami’s Chris Bosh is out front of that, heading into Game 3 against the San Antonio Spurs on Tuesday night (9 p.m. ET, ABC) at the AT&T Center.
Say goodbye to Bosh as a 3-point shooter, at least for the foreseeable future.
“With this [Spurs] team, it seems like that’s what they want me to do so I’m not going to do it,” he told the media after Miami’s morning shootaround session. “They want me to shoot 3s. I could tell by looking at the film. So I really just changed it up.”
Bosh took four 3-point shots and missed them all in the Finals opener. In Game 2 Sunday, all 10 of his shots came from inside the circle, and both he (plus-19 compared to minus-4 in Game 1) and the Heat did better.
There was something in the way Spurs defenders held back — maybe even folding their arms and rolling their eyes — when Bosh got the ball outside the arc that made him catch on in video review.
” ‘Cause nobody was closing out to me, and I’m like, ‘OK, if nobody’s closing out ot me, that means they want me to shoot it,’ ” Bosh said. “So I just wanted to get in an area where I could be more aggressive and kind of really work against that game plan they have.”
Who could blame San Antonio? Sure, Bosh had made 48.4 percent of his 3-pointers in the first round of the playoffs, including 8-of-16 against Indiana in the Eastern Conference finals. But in the regular season, he shot 28.4 percent from out there on only 74 attempts. His career average: 28.8 percent.
Now it’s possible that by the time this championship series gets to Games 4, 5 or 6, both sides might be into triple- or quadruple-psychology where the Spurs will close out hard again, Bosh will initially think that means they don’t want him to shoot from that distance and then he’ll have a Eureka! moment of I know that they know that I know…
But for now, it’s a simple tweak that paid off with a more all-around performance (12 points, 10 rebounds, four assists) from him, compared to his low-impact play in the opener. He is 8-for-14 from midrange in the series.
“I’m just trying to do my best to get everybody involved when I have the chance,” Bosh said. “Sometimes it really gets me going to [be] more of a threat too. If I make the right passes, maybe they’ll space out a little bit and I can get a couple layups and a few more open jumpers.”
In other words, the light bulb is on and Bosh has come around to what so many critics have been saying: Get inside, closer to the paint, and play more like a power forward.
“I can always step out and knock those down,” Bosh said. “But to get in a better rhythm, I think starting closer to the basket is ideal for me.”