The Miami Heat fell to the Brooklyn Nets in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals but they are still locked on their target. The Heat still hold the lead in the series, 2 – 1 and they just need a victory in this next game on the road to almost seal their ticket to the Conference Finals. Of course, LeBron James is leading the way for Miami, for yet another season. Dwyane Wade is, fortunately for Erik Spoelstra, healthy and he is contributing on a nightly basis. However, apart from the solid performances of those two superstars, the Heat have seen Chris Bosh playing with consistency and delivering when the team needs him to.
Sometimes, Bosh’s contributions to the outputs of the team get overseen, mainly due to the presence of LeBron and D – Wade in the team. However, Bosh could be a key player for Miami in this championship, three – peat course. So, how much can Bosh do for his team? How significant will his performance be?
First of all, Chris Bosh will for sure be the X-Factor if the Heat advance to the Eastern Conference Finals. Assuming that the Indiana Pacers will also make it there, the Heat will have to find a way to match against Roy Hibbert and David West inside. Although Bosh is smaller in size than Hibbert, he will have to try and drag him in his game. This season, we saw Chris Bosh greatly extending his range and shooting well from beyond the three – point arc. So, in a potential matchup with Hibbert, Bosh could force Hibbert to play defense close to the three – point range thus opening the routes for LeBron’s and Wade’s penetrations. After all, this was the biggest issue the Heat faced last year against Indiana. Miami just couldn’t score easily from close to the rim, due to the presence of the twin towers, Hibbert and West.
This year, though, with Chris Bosh being very dangerous from downtown, Hibbert or West, whoever gets to guard him, will have to take care of him close to the three – point range. If Bosh manages to hit his shots with consistency, he will certainly help the Heat open the Pacers’ defense and get some easy baskets.
Bosh is already recording great numbers during the postseason. He is averaging 14.7 points per contest to go along with 6.1 rebounds and he is shooting 50.0 percent from the floor and 47.8 percent from three – point territory. Of course, even during the regular season, Bosh did play very well, averaging 16.7 points 6.6 rebounds and 51.6 percent shooting from the field. Following last year’s struggles against Indiana, Head Coach Erik Spoelstra instructed Bosh to try and extend his range and Bosh responded perfectly. Not only did he manage to extend his range but he is now one of the most lethal weapons the Heat have from downtown. This has greatly helped Miami add even more versatility to an already versatile team. So, when it comes to playing against teams like the Pacers or whoever the Heat might face in the NBA Finals, if they make it thus far for their fourth consecutive year, Bosh’s range might be a decisive factor.
On the other end of the floor, the defensive one, Bosh will also have to play big. The Heat finished the regular season as the worst team in rebounding. The Heat are continuing to not do such a good job on the glass during the postseason, on either end of the floor. Up to now, that hasn’t really hurt them, since they haven’t yet faced a team with size or with an identical quality as theirs. Nonetheless, that will soon change, when the Heat make it to the Conference Finals and assuming that they’ll meet the Indiana Pacers. In fact, even if the Heat advance to the NBA Finals, all three of their potential matchups, the Oklahoma City Thunder, the Los Angeles Clippers and the San Antonio Spurs hold the clear advantage in rebounding. Chris Bosh will have to step up and lead the way for the Heat in that sector. CB has proven multiple times in his career that he is a terrific rebounder, even in clutch situations. For example, it was Bosh the one who grabbed that last rebound in Game 6 of the 2013 NBA Finals against San Antonio and then instinctively passed to Ray Allen, who hit the corner three to save the season for Miami.
The Heat have failed to find a viable solution at center, for yet another season, as Greg Oden has turned out to be nothing more than just a benchwarmer in Spoelstra’s rotation. So, Chris Bosh will have to play bigger than his size for yet another year. He will be the one guarding opposing big-man threats, like Hibbert or West and he will have to find the mental but also physical energy to do well with consistency.
Of course, the Heat are expecting some big contributions on the offensive end from Bosh, too. Up to now, Bosh has responded to the urgency call. Although some nights he is not filling the stat sheet, even then he plays with efficiency and if he can’t score, he finds other ways to help his team.
In a way, we all know what LeBron James can do and the same goes for Dwyane Wade, at least if he stays healthy throughout the Heat’s playoff course. However, when it comes to Bosh’s contributions, we can’t actually say the same. That’s because Bosh is a slightly different player than last year. In addition, his matchup against Indiana’s big men will have a much bigger essence than his current ones against Kevin Garnett or the rest of the Nets’ big men. So, we can fairly say that Chris Bosh will be the X-Factor in Miami’s three – peat course this year.