Anyone who thinks the Miami Heat can win a championship without Chris Bosh needs to have their heads examined. Bosh may be the Joker, or the wild card, in Miami’s Batman and Robin dynamic but his presence was the biggest reason why the Heat are advancing to the NBA Finals.
Bosh scored 19 points in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals in Miami — only his third game back since an abdominal injuring sidelined him for weeks — and Miami got a huge lift from his career playoff best three 3-pointers. His final 3-pointer came with 7:19 left in the fourth quarter with the Heat up by only a point, 83-82. He took a pass from LeBron James and knocked one down from the corner, a backbreaking trey that sparked an 18-6 run by the Heat en route to a 101-88 victory.
“It was big time. Every shot, every defensive play, every defensive rebound, his energy, and his effort. We missed him. Happy to have him back at the right time,” James said of his teammate, who was 8-for-10 from the field and grabbed eight rebounds in 31 minutes off the bench.
“If it weren’t for [Bosh], who stepped up and made some plays, we wouldn’t have won this game,” added James, who led the Heat with 31 points despite shooting just 9-for-21 from the field. James, Bosh and Dwyane Wade (23 points) scored all 28 points for Miami in the fourth quarter.
“That was the biggest challenge I’ve ever had in my life,” Bosh said. “To make sure that I say ready so when the time did come I’ll be able to contribute instead of trying to get my legs under me and being a non-factor.”
Heat coach Erik Spoelstra inserted Bosh back in the lineup for Game 5, but played just 14 minutes because Spoelstra thought it wouln’t “be fair” to Bosh to throw him into the fire after dealing with a serious injury. Bosh said he felt fine and could have played more minutes. Spoelstra rewarded his big man in the next two games by increasing his playing time.
In Game 7 Saturday night, Spoelstra called Bosh the Heat’s “most important player” because he not only occupied Kevin Garnett on offense but his length made it tougher for the Celtics to get rebounds and easy looks at the basket.
“I thought about it everyday,” Bosh said. “I worked hard with the coaching staff and the doctors, and trainers and we relentlessly worked everyday.”
Bosh’s big-time game in the series clincher is a great sign for the Heat because they will need their All-Star forward to be at his absolute best in the NBA Finals against a very long and talented Oklahoma City Thunder squad.