Heat center Chris Bosh didn’t give his teammates his usual production in several games of the Eastern Conference finals. But he did give them an apology.
“I changed my game in Games 1 through 6 and it hasn’t really worked,” Bosh said on Monday, several hours before Game 7. “I just need to do what I do, let it all hang out.”
Asked how he changed his game, Bosh said: “Not being aggressive, not playing my basketball. I apologized to my teammates, and I won’t have to do it anymore after [Monday] night.”
Bosh was more aggressive to start Game 7, driving to the basket with more frequency, but missed seven of his eight first-quarter shots before hitting a jumper and draining a three-pointer in the second quarter.
Bosh said before the game he has been “thinking too much probably” and would change that heading into Game 7.
“There’s nothing else to think about,” he said. “[I] really kind of took away my thought process, and I’m a better player when I do that.”
Bosh said he had a feeling of “liberation” before Monday’s game and it reminded him of how he felt before he scored 21 points in Game 7 of last year’s Eastern Conference finals against Boston.
Asked before the game whether he has been worrying too much about Pacers center Roy Hibbert, Bosh said: “Why would I worry about him for? That has been my attitude. I just haven’t employed it. My bad.”
Coach Erik Spoelstra said during the past two days, he worked on ways to put Bosh and Dwyane Wade in more comfortable positions on the court.
But Bosh said: “It’s really nothing coaches can do to free me. It’s really myself. Coaches don’t have to invent anything.”
LeBron James spoke of feeling fortunate to now have competed in four seventh games.
“I grew up watching Game 7s,” James said an hour before tipoff. “For a basketball player to play in a Game 7 and punch your ticket to the NBA Finals, it gets no better than this. This is something we all dream of. If you don’t dream of it, you probably shouldn’t be here tonight.”
• Before the game, Wade said he spent the past day and a half “looking at tape, looking at ways you can be better. … It’s been a long afternoon. This time of year, I don’t know what’s going on outside. I got a lot of text messages, didn’t reply to anybody.”
• Sleeping was problematic for James and Wade heading into Game 7. “No sleep,” James said. “An hour here, wake up, try to get back to sleep, 30 minutes here and there.”
• In his late first-quarter substitutions, Spoelstra opted for Mike Miller ahead of Shane Battier, who entered shooting 15 for 66 in postseason.
• Chris Andersen missed a follow shot just before the first-quarter buzzer, ending a streak of 18 in a row.
• Ray Allen hit his first three three-pointers Monday before missing. He made just 7 of 24 threes in the first six games.
Spoelstra, on Bosh and Wade: “The bright lights inspire Dwyane and Chris more than shrink them. That’s why this team was put together — moments like this.”
Spoelstra, asked how the team would reconcile how much James should take over as opposed to getting others involved: “If we’re trying to figure that out now, we’re in trouble. … We’re a much better team when everyone’s involved.”
Spoelstra on Norris Cole: “He doesn’t know how blessed he has been. This is his second seven-game series before he’s even 25 years old.”
• Spoelstra said this series “has been what the fans wanted. Sure, everybody would love a sweep. You never remember the sweeps. The Game 7s are always etched in your memory.”
• The Heat coaching staff placed a small blue sheet of paper in players’ lockers before the game saying: “No 6-for-9 or 8-for-10 [field goals] at first [timeout] for Pacers.” Indiana opened 7 for 15.
• Because TV audiences are typically smaller on Saturdays than other nights, the local and national TV ratings for Heat-Pacers fell from Game 5 on Thursday to Game 6 on Saturday.
Game 5 was watched in 26.1 percent of Miami-Fort Lauderdale homes with TV sets (equal to a 26.1 rating), compared with 24.4 for Game 6. Nationally, Game 5 drew a 5.4 national rating, compared to a 4.9 for Game 6.