Bosh goes clutch to answer his critics


VIDEO: Chris Bosh comes up clutch for the Heat in the final minutes of Game 2

SAN ANTONIO – When LeBron James wasn’t talking about cramps in the two days before Game 2 of The 2014 Finals, he was explaining why he considers himself the “easiest target in sports.” (Short answer: Nonstop media coverage and inflated expectations since he’s been 15 years old.)

That led to a natural follow-up question Sunday night for Chris Bosh, James’ teammate with the Miami Heat. After all Bosh, even in flattering coverage, ranks third among the Heat’s Big 3. In the snarkier accounts, or Shaq‘s occasional wise-guy remarks, he’s the Fredo of this particular Corleone crew behind James and Dwyane Wade.

“I’m probably the second [easiest target],” Bosh said after Miami’s 98-96 victory to even the best-of-seven series at 1-1. The 6-foot-11 forward scored 18 points and, despite his meager rebound total of three, was active enough defensively that he and Rashard Lewis outscored Spurs big men Tim Duncan and Tiago Splitter by a combined 32-20. Spot San Antonio Boris Diaw off the bench, along with the Heat’s Chris Andersen, and Miami still had the edge, 35-27.

Then there was Bosh late. He took a pass from James in the right corner for a 3-pointer with 1:18 left, turning a 1-point lead into a 2-point advantage. On Miami’s last offensive possession, it was Bosh who drove inside, drawing the defense and dishing to Wade for a dagger layup to make it 98-93 with 9.4 seconds left.

And sure enough, Bosh was talking about validation afterward. Because after years as Toronto’s cornerstone and go-to guy, he is and remains third on this team. He’s the butt of social media jokes, a source of frustration for the Heat fans with paper-thin loyalty and just sensitive enough to process all the noise.

“I think validating yourself is a constant process,” Bosh said, before adding, “I really let that go a long time ago. I don’t care about those things. I focus on the game and what we’re supposed to do with it. We have a chance to compete for another championship. That’s all that matters to me now.”

James was the Heat’s MVP in Game 2, cramp-free and in the zone with his outside shot. But Bosh got an MIP shout-out from their coach, Erik Spoelstra.

“Look, he’s arguably our most important player,” Spoelstra said.

In the moment, the Miami coach was lapsing into what we’ll call a white lie. But he did so out of appreciation, not just of what Bosh provides but for what he endures.

“If he’s not getting the normal opportunities, and he’s not scoring or doesn’t have big rebound numbers, it seems from the outside everybody is so critical about his game,” Spoelstra said. “But for us, he has a lot on his plate.

“He’s a two-way player on both ends of the court. he has to facilitate and space the floor, and he has to find opportunities to be aggressive. It’s a tough balance. He’s versatile enough and important enough for us that he’s been able to find that.”

Bosh is more introspective than most, too, so he’ll occasionally give his critics ammo by questioning his own game or analyzing his own career. When he needs to do more, as in the Eastern Conference finals against Indiana, Bosh often will be the first to suggest it.

The thing is, he did do it as the Pacers series stretched on. And he was there in the clutch Sunday against San Antonio, despite missing an identical shot on Miami’s previous possession.

James didn’t hesitate, once Duncan “peeked” at him as he attacked the lane, to pass to Bosh in the corner. It was a flashback not just to the last time down court but to the end of Game 5 of the East finals in Indianapolis. Down two, James opted not to seek a possible foul for free throws to tie. He dished to Bosh to win – only Bosh missed. Everyone had to traipse back to south Florida for a winner in the series.

“To have that trust from my teammates, they know when I got the ball, I’m going to make the right play,” James said. “Doesn’t mean it’s going to go in. Doesn’t mean it’s going to result in a win, but they believe in my ability.”

Said Bosh: “Just me knowing how LeBron is, you always have to be poised and ready to shoot the basketball. He’s the most unselfish player I’ve ever played with. … Even if he is hot, he’ll still hit you if you’re wide open.”

It’s gone this way for most of their four seasons together: James shouldering the biggest load, Wade reminding and sometimes surprising people that his knees and game aren’t dead yet, and Bosh coming through at the 11th hour, providing just enough to a) earn his keep or b) push the Heat over the top.

In a sense, Bosh has been resilient just like they have as a group – Miami has lost playoff games but has gone 47 now without losing two in a row. It has fired back from defeats with victories 13 consecutive times. Oh, and they’re 5-0 in series in the Big 3 era after dropping Game 1.

“Everything plays a role in it,” Bosh said, “Yeah, you do have a healthy dose of fear and it makes you focus more, makes you play better, play harder. When your back is against the wall, it’s a very unique feeling.”

He could have said “familiar.” The next round of criticism is just around the corner. Bosh likes it when he can be James’ target. Others’, he’s not interested in at all.

“I don’t really care about the criticism,” he said. “If it doesn’t help me, then I don’t listen to it. … Everybody gets criticized, and I understand that. I’m not immune to it. To know that that’s happened before, I’m not the first, I won’t be the last. This team won’t be the first or the last. Each guy gets picked on.

“But I think it makes you stronger as a person and I believe in my craft. I work hard at my game and that’s all that matter.”

They’ll be saying especially nasty things about Bosh in San Antonio for the next couple days. He can smile while he doesn’t care about that.

50 Comments

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  2. Kimmylovesthethunder says:

    Am I the only basketball fan who is over Dwayne Wade (and James Harden too) and all this stupid flopping! I agree with the Chuckster, after 3 flopping fines, an automatic suspension. Hey Dwayne, you should try auditioning for a show on Broadway (like Cats or Grease) if you want to act!

  3. Shagar Shamoove says:

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  4. Big Al of Bondi says:

    I am happy with Bosh’s performance of late. He drives to the rim more often now, something he was too chicken to do exactly a year ago. He added the three-pointer to his resumé, but shouldn’t use it excessively. He seems to be playing to save his spot in the Heat roster and I like it. LeBron and Wade love him, but need him to be consistent. He appears to be a gentleman, but should be less so on court. Keep the Raptor CB coming en route to a three-peat!

  5. realist says:

    Bosh has actually been shooting a higher 3-point % than Ray Allen this season.. That big time 3 at the end was no fluke! He was also attacking the basket a lot this game instead of settling for that outside shot, impressive to see.

    Anyone whinging about non-foul calls is crazy (there were a lot both ways), but seriously its great to see the refs letting them play on sometimes when some contact is made for change..

    Also congrats to big TD21 for the tie with Magic for most playoff double-doubles, true legend!!

  6. Curtis says:

    They should fine the refs who make the foul calls on flops. I’m sure they’d start to think twice especially to exaggerated movement when their vision is completly blocked.

  7. Blog-So-Hard-NBA says:

    Miami has too many weapons; result: 3 rings for James and the gang; and a 4th ring for Wade, “daddy’s girls” and Gabby

  8. Lebobo says:

    Seems to me every time Manu touches the ball in the fourth quarter, the entire possession becomes a disaster… I saw the same thing in overtime in Game 6 last year, and the same thing in the last few minutes of game 2… he just panics and goes into stupid “hero ball”, and just throws up stupid shots, or else turns it over… don’t get why Pops plays him so much in crunch time…

  9. MikeR says:

    Spurs fans invented the word “LeBRONING” after game 1, now they see the real meaning of that word in Game 2, 35pts, 10rebs performance. Now Spurs fans are eating there very own invented word :) Spurs should have left AC broken, too bad, that is all what it takes for them to win.

  10. kenson says:

    THEY OFFICIALS GAVE AWAY THE GAME LAST NIGHT TOO MANY FOUL CALL ON SAN ANTONIO SPURS.THEY SHOULD SUSPEND MARIO CHARMERS FOR GAME 3

    • TMac says:

      Nice try, bud…lol the Spurs had the same amount of fouls as the Heat…..and the Heat have more total fouls than the Spurs so far.

  11. fanofthegame says:

    There’s a lot of pressure. U have to have really thick skin-If they listened to the crazed fans and all of the critics, it may actually impact your performance. I am a Heat Fan but I understand that these are two great and competitive teams going at it! These close games litereally have you on the edge of your seat.

  12. laughing with kiwi land says:

    SA FOREVER i couldnt let that slip by.
    Bosh his 3 pointer was a fluke?
    DO you watch regular season or are you one of those fans that only switch nba on at play offs.
    Bosh made this season more 3′s then his previous 3 or 4 seasons combined.
    GO figure with your fluke

  13. vivek balivada says:

    Spurs will be back…

    Manu, timmy, parker, green, leonard will be back with a BANG….

    Heat, you gonna be tossed at your home!

    Go Spurs go……

  14. Ico says:

    yet no topic about Wade fined for flopping, getting tired of all the ref’s backup towards MH..

    • Enthralled says:

      Yet no suspension on splitter for flopping. He flop’ed twice on OKC and now on game 1 against heat. And manu loves to flop but of course all your attention is on heat instead of both teams.

    • Pete says:

      Really? you are going to argue flopping if you are a Spurs fan? you have got the true Flopping King, Mr. Ginobli. Guy tried about 5 flops after his 3rd foul lol. Calls got missed all through the game…and if you really cry about the outcome of the game due to flukes, and refs’ mistakes, just fix the AC and this series would be 2-0 for the heat…

  15. suv says:

    Bosh can’t score in the pain, so just stand in the 3 point line and wait, can’t slow down Tony, well there is will there is “WAY” Miami will find way to win, even they are not the best in basketball

  16. Scott C says:

    a two point loss after a 15 point wood shedding and the best team in the league is done???…..better check with Dallas and OKC on that one, ya’ll be gettin too much sun on your head down in Myamu

    • Nice try. says:

      Umm…wood shedding? I don’t know if we watched the same game, but Game one was quite close until the very end when Lebron came out. Let’s see you take the Spurs best player (who still won’t be anywhere near as good as the King) out of the next game in the fourth quarter and see if we don’t “wood shed” the Spurs on our home court. Don’t be scared….we’ll leave the A/C on for you.

      Heat in six. Three-peat. End of story.

  17. v says:

    This is just what the NBA needed; after the Sterling fiasco. A 7 game series would put the NBA back on track. Winning by 2 versus 10-15 says it all. Granted a win is a win, but please don’t go all out for MIAMI. I am neither Heat or Spurs fan but lets just make this a basketball game, I am looking for a game and not a contest of who has the bigger Ball! Not everyone can make pro-basketball and neither team has a perfectionist. There were some lucky shots on both ends. And please can we get some help in the referee department, It appears there were some obvious fouls not called on either end. Either they are for a player or against a player. Need to check the stats.

    • Nathan says:

      ” Winning by 2 versus 10-15 says it all”

      Doesn’t say anything. Game 1 was pretty much tied up until the point Lebron had to be taken out with his injury. Then a bunch of lucky 3s fell in garbage time minutes before the game was over.

  18. airgil17 says:

    Yah! Miami did there best play.

  19. LearnTheGame says:

    There is no excuse miss free throws are a part of the game and they were still up when they missed those throws. Spurs real issue is they can’t get stops and in the crunch Mia can. Really is just that simple. Spurs play great but once you put LBJ on tony P and play the lineup of Bosh, Lewis, LBJ, Wade and Ray, the spurs have no answer. And that lineup still brings the same spacing, but allows you to switch on the perimeter and be super long/big and your wing spots. So shots become tougher because now you’re shooting over bigger guys. Guards like TP hate bigger guards that are more athletic (I.E Russ Westbrook). And bron can coast on D when guarding TP because he won’t blow by him and is not hitting long range shots so bron can help and then close out on Tony. Spurs are just don’t have the horses it’s not there fault. Timmy is old, Manu is old and Tony has miles on his body. they’re playing younger more athletic guys. Only weak link for MIA is the coach and the weak links for Spurs is age and slightly above average bench players. Mia has ex all stars/HOF riding there pine. This is a Lambo racing a corvette. Looks good at first but after a while horses take over.

  20. SA Forever says:

    That 3 from CB was a fluke. I bet you he will never make that again in this series even he’s wide open. It is expected that Heat will won a game but not a series, not a championship. SA in 6.

    • J Boogie says:

      You must Not watch the NBA to make such a Dumb comment

    • I'm Right says:

      what does this even mean? bosh is shooting 44% from 3pt in the playoffs… how is that a fluke?!

    • kamar says:

      Take it from me Miami not losing to the spurs. Can’t you see that Miami is better this year. Bron not letting Miami lose this series. Spurs is the best on paper but in game Miami is the best in this series.

    • Nice try. says:

      Just another frightened Spurs fan trolling.

    • TURSETTE says:

      chris bosh shoots 3-pointers. FYI

  21. Sakuragi says:

    Big 3 is big 3. each one of them makes a difference. I love to see the spurs play but, not against the Miami Era .. miami will win this series for sure .

  22. misterchief says:

    Reading these comments is painful. Read a book, people. You might learn how to string a coherent sentence together.

  23. Markus says:

    Lebron thrusts his teammates. Not good for the Spurs with confedens that comes with that shot.

    • Celentano says:

      This is why Lebron is the best player in the world..he don’t hog the ball like Kobe

    • Nice try. says:

      Ummm…Markus? Lebron THRUSTS his wife, not his teammates. I think you meant to say he TRUSTS his teammates.

  24. San antonio fan says:

    Lol! Here we are. How can you say homecourt is gone when we can win 2 in miami nand we’ll be back in San Antonio to cloe is all out! Though i know its not going to be easy, it was a really close game, its a great series and both teams are capable of winning away games. I was impressed by the King but it aint gonna be the same the next, #GoSpursGo

    • kamar says:

      spurs winning the next two games? In 2k15! Spurs must have signed MJ for that to happen.

  25. jes says:

    Love it when Pacers/Spurs fans got bitter everytime they lose

    Makes our day Lol

    Go home bandwagons! Hahaha

  26. costasantos says:

    In my opinion this game was lost by the Spirs in the free throw line. Before the 3 point from Bosh, Parker failed 2 free throws and if I remember well, Duncan failed also 2 free throws after that. Maybe they lost the finals there!

  27. pacersbandwagon says:

    where the spurs fans at hahahahahahahaha

  28. MikeH says:

    All the James haters should be thanked for Miami’s win. Especially the ones at the game in San Antonio that were calling him soft and mocking him for having to leave game 1. They really helped to motivate him.

    Home court advantage for SA — poof…gone!
    Momentum for SA — poof…gone!

    A great and well balanced series with two great teams.

  29. Sariel says:

    got to give it to miami. those flops and elbows really shows how great miami is.

  30. lebronforever says:

    san antonio fans!!!!!where are u now???

  31. Nana says:

    Let’s go spurs …

  32. Jefrey Landicho says:

    Bosh 3 point shot has improve a lot since then

  33. Jefrey Landicho says:

    Bosh 3 point shot has improved a lot

  34. Jefrey Landicho says:

    Bosh 3 point shot has improved a lot