Just when it seemed Chris Bosh was finally coming out of his January funk, he got sick at the beginning of February.
Heat forward Shane Battier started in place of Bosh on Wednesday against the Rockets after Bosh came down with flu-like symptoms before the game, according to the Heat. Bosh did not attend shootaround on Wednesday morning and, after not improving during the day, was told to stay home for the game.
“Two years ago that was our worst nightmare,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said of missing Bosh. “And while we obviously want him back as our most important player in this mix, we’ll be able to work around it.”
Bosh’s illness gave Battier a start against his old team. He has started 16 games this season. Spoelstra said he never considered starting Chris Andersen, who Spoelstra prefers in the second rotation. Also, Andersen has only started 10 games in his career.
Bosh has missed only two games this season. Most recently, he averaged over 25 points in the Heat’s back-to-back against the Raptors and Bobcats. He had 13 points in the fourth quarter against Toronto and 10 points in the final period against Charlotte.
Spoelstra said that “it helps” the team when Bosh is more aggressive offensively.
“We’ve got to work together to do it,” Spoelstra said. “He’s got to have an aggressive mindset to look for opportunities. Not only to attack, but to find open gaps in the paint to catch, especially on his rolls to the rim.”
Bird is the word
Spoelstra tries to remain formal with his players. That rule has been really hard with Andersen.
When Spoelstra first met Andersen, he asked the Heat’s coach to call him “Bird.”
Spoelstra declined at first.
“I told him when I first met with him I said, ‘I’m going to have a hard time calling you that,’” Spoelstra said.
But it didn’t take Spoelstra long to embrace the name. In a strange way, it just feels weird calling “Birdman” something normal like, you know, his given name.
“For some reason, he’s different,” Spoelstra said. “I would never call anyone by their nickname, and I certainly wouldn’t accept anybody calling themselves in the third person, but he is different.”
Anderson often refers to himself in the third person as “the Birdman” or “a birdman.”
Respect the game
While Spoelstra didn’t exactly admonish the Rockets for pouring it on the Warriors on Tuesday night, he also didn’t condone Houston’s apparent attempt to tie the NBA’s three-point record.
The Rockets defeated the Warriors 140-109 in Houston before flying to Miami for their home-away back-to-back. The Rockets made 23 three-pointers, or one shy of breaking the NBA record. To prevent the Rockets from getting the record, Warriors coach Mark Jackson instructed his players to foul at the end of the game. The Rockets crowd was chanting “one more three” in the final minutes.
“It keeps it compelling when the game wasn’t close,” Spoelstra said of the Rockets’ pursuit of the record. “You can look at it that way. I don’t think that anyone would have paid attention to last two minutes of that game. Every situation is different. There is an integrity to the game.”