Heat notebook

Despite struggles, Miami Heat teammates support Chris Bosh

 

grichards@MiamiHerald.com

Late in Miami’s game against San Antonio on Thursday night, Chris Bosh found himself all alone deep in the corner with the Heat down four points.

Even though he missed the first three three-pointers he took in the game, Bosh fired away. He didn’t make it. It’s a shot he will take again.

“He was open,” coach Erik Spoelstra said after Miami’s 92-88 loss in the opening game of the NBA Finals. “Probably for a reason at that point.”

Bosh came into Thursday connecting on just less than 50 percent of his three-point shots this postseason. Still, he was open.

“I mean, they can give it to me, I’ll take it,” Bosh said Friday. “I’ll take any open shot. I just missed a couple. … If they want to leave me open, then that’s cool with me.”

Spoelstra said the Heat had a number of options on the possession that Bosh took the three-pointer with 1:02 remaining. On March 31, Bosh’s three-pointer in the closing seconds was the difference in Miami’s victory at San Antonio.

“You know, sometimes you’re just going to miss shots,” Bosh said. “I understand that. You have to have the confidence and really the know-how to be able to let it go and move on to the next possession and the next shot.”

The Heat was able to cut the Spurs’ lead to two points with 31 seconds left when LeBron James made a pair of free throws. But San Antonio put the game away on a crazy shot by Tony Parker with 5.2 seconds remaining.

On Friday, Spoelstra and players such as James and Dwyane Wade reiterated their support for Bosh, who said he continues to try to find better balance between his inside and outside game.

“You know what, we’ll take that shot,” Spoelstra said. “He’s been making those. It’s an open shot in the fourth quarter. It didn’t come down to that. There were more plays going down the stretch. … Look, we’re not going to overreact to those misses. He was wide open. He has been making some. He’s hit some big ones already.”

Said Wade: “We just want Chris to mix it up. Chris is one of the best shooters, especially big-man shooters in this game. He hasn’t found the fine line of mixing it up. And that’s not always easy because of the dynamic of how many players we have on the court that’s live at all times.”

• The Heat used 11 players in Thursday night’s game after utilizing a nine-man lineup for much of the postseason.

Since Game 6 of the Indiana series, Mike Miller has taken the place of Shane Battier.

“It feels good being back out there,” Miller said. “It’s about getting back into the fight a little since I haven’t played much this season. The level of basketball is at a high level going from Game 7 of the [Eastern Conference finals] now to the Finals. It’s a matter of getting back in there and getting your body used to it.”

On Thursday night, Battier came in during the second quarter and became the 10th Miami player to see time. Center Joel Anthony came in when Bosh got his third foul in the first half to become No. 11.

“It was definitely good to get back in there,” said Anthony, who had three rebounds in a little more than three minutes. “I’ve always said no matter what it is — three minutes or 30 — I have to be ready and give it my all so I can contribute to whatever the team needs.”

• Wade said after Thursday’s game that he thought the Heat “were a little fatigued at times, honestly, in the fourth quarter.”

Wade, who was 0 for 2 in the fourth quarter, amended his comments Friday.

“I don’t want nobody to think that’s a crutch, that we were tired,” Wade said. “So what? We have to play. I said we looked like a team that came out of a seven-game series in the fourth quarter. We died down a little bit physically and mentally by making mistakes.

“So you have to fight through all that. It’s the Finals. There’s no other series after this. There’s no tomorrow after this from the standpoint of basketball.”

Said Spoelstra: “There’s no excuse at this point of the year. We’re mentally preparing for a long series. This is the final push, and regardless of how we’ve gotten here, we just have to be ready for whatever it takes.”

• James said he had no regrets on Parker’s game-clinching play Thursday, one in which he made an off-balance shot that barely beat the shot clock as the game time ran down.

“It didn’t run through my mind too much after the game,” said James, who looked like he got a piece of the shot.

“It was a tough shot. He came off a pick and roll. He bobbled it, he backed up, he tripped, he fell, and he got up and went under my arm and made a tough bank shot. That’s not why we lost the game.”

• James, who had 18 points, 18 rebounds and 10 assists, recorded his second consecutive triple-double in a Finals game.

James had 26 points, 11 rebounds and 13 assists in Miami’s clinching victory over Oklahoma City last June.

Thursday’s triple-double tied him with Rajon Rondo and Larry Bird for third place on the career triple-double playoff list with 10. Magic Johnson has 30, and Jason Kidd has 11.

James also passed Johnson for 11th place on the career playoff scoring list.

Miami Herald sportswriter Barry Jackson contributed to this report.

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