didnt start at center Thursday night. For a change, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra
went with the same starting lineup for two games in a row. Udonis Haslem
started at center for the second consecutive game while Shane Battier
remained at power forward. Bosh came off the bench with 5:29 left in the first quarter. The Heat started three different centers in the first five games of the Eastern Conference finals and has started four different centers overall in the postseason.
Thats been a rotating door for us the last two years, not just in this series, you know, LeBron James
said. Our five position, Joel
] or [Haslem] or [Bosh] at times, and Ronny
] and [ Erick Dampier
] and [ Zydrunas Ilgauskas
]. I mean, the list goes on in just two years.
James said the instability in the middle has made it hard to get a rhythm for whats going on, starting the game, starting the third quarter.
I mean, it has been a challenge for all of us, James said. Not only for the guys that have been constants in the starting lineup, but also for those guys whove been in and out, not knowing if theyre going to start or not.Problems abound
After beginning the series with a 2-0 lead, the Heat lost three consecutive games to put itself in the difficult position of winning in Boston to extend the series. Before Thursdays shootaround, Dwyane Wade
couldnt put his finger on the exact problem.
Its a lot of things in between the games, Wade said. I think its been a little different. It hasnt been a consistent thing. Up here in Boston, I think what separated us was getting down 20 points in both games especially in the first half and trying to make a comeback.
Wade said using too much energy to make the comebacks in Boston didnt leave the team with anything left in its reserve tank.
As for the loss in Game 5, Wade said, I think what separated us was a couple of things that didnt go our way a couple loose balls, a couple offensive rebounds at the end of the game that didnt go our way and gave them other opportunities to score.The nice guys
The Heats players have been cast as national villains for two seasons now, but thats not who Wade sees when he looks around his locker room.
I know every person in this locker room is a good individual person, Wade said. Whether you like us as a group, thats for you to decide, but as individual people, thats for you to decide. You cant be necessarily worried about it. Thats the world we live in. And whether we helped cause that or not, it is what it is.
Wade inferred that a few players added to the team this offseason werent quite ready for the media crush and national backlash of joining the Heat.
I guess when you decide to sign up for this, especially after last year, you kind of should know what youre signing up for, Wade said. When its great, its great. When its not, its not. No ifs, ands or buts about it. Aint no gray area. Aint no in between.Late arrivals
Conspiracy theories, anyone?
The Heats team bus arrived at TD Garden behind schedule before the game. The bus driver apparently took a wrong turn, which put the bus in heavy traffic. When the team arrived at the arena, security guards then hesitated to let the bus in the loading dock area.
The Heat didnt walk into its locker room until around 7 p.m. Spoelstra was late to his pregame news conference, and the locker room didnt open for reporters on time. The only team member who was at the arena before 7 p.m. was Mike Miller
, who arrives at arenas three to four hours before games. He prefers shooting before games without anyone on the court.Tough crowd
Entering Game 6, the Heat had lost 15 of its previous 16 games at TD Garden. On Thursday, Bostons legendary fans were at their best (or their worst, if youre a fan of the Heat). Seemingly every other T-shirt outside the arena before the game described either James or Wade with colorful and creative language.
Theyre a little better versus us here than anyone else, Wade said.
Over the past 30 years, Boston was 22-5 in potential close-out games at home before Thursday.
Its one of the most challenging places in the league to play, Bosh said.