Heat | Eastern Conference Semifinals

With corner three-pointer, Chris Bosh is Miami Heat’s ‘equalizer’

 
 
Miami Heat forward Chris Bosh runs up court after making a three-pointer in the final seconds as Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Garnett watches during the fourth quarter of Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals at the Barclays Center in New York on May 12, 2014.
Miami Heat forward Chris Bosh runs up court after making a three-pointer in the final seconds as Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Garnett watches during the fourth quarter of Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals at the Barclays Center in New York on May 12, 2014.
Charles Trainor Jr / Staff Photo

Series schedule

(Heat leads series 3-1)

Game 1: Heat 107, Nets 86

Game 2: Heat 94, Nets 82

Game 3: Nets 104, Heat 90

Game 4: Heat 102, Nets 96

Game 5: Nets at Heat,

Wednesday, 7 p.m., TNT

*Game 6: Heat at Nets,

Friday, TBD, ESPN

*Game 7: Nets at Heat,

Sunday, TBD, ABC

*If necessary


Boycott looms if Sterling stays

LeBron James has told NBA players that he will boycott the league if Donald Sterling is still owner of the Los Angeles Clippers at the beginning of next season, according to former Heat player Roger Mason Jr.

Now the vice president of the National Basketball Players Association, Mason said James “ain’t playing if Sterling is still an owner,” during an interview with Jim Rome on Showtime that was scheduled to air Wednesday night. Mason said James and other players would also boycott the NBA if any Sterling family member owned the team.

James said Sunday that he expects a “long litigation” as the NBA tries to remove Sterling as owner of the Clippers.


jgoodman@MiamiHerald.com

There is a basketball gym a few floors underneath New York’s Baruch College.

On Sunday, a day before one of the biggest shots of his career, that’s where Heat center Chris Bosh ran through an extra set of catch-and-shoot corner three-pointers after practice.

Run to the corner, catch, shoot, swish.

Over and over Bosh repeated that familiar drill on a subterranean court a few flights of stairs below the corner of East 24th Street and Lexington Avenue.

Run to the corner, catch, shoot, swish.

Heat teammates Rashard Lewis and Shane Battier also participated in the drill. Sweat flew off their faces and arms as their basketball shoes squeaked abruptly into position.

Run to the corner, catch, shoot, swish.

Like nameless worker drones humming along to some ceaseless rhythm deep below the earth, their motions were instinctual and without thought.

Run to the corner, catch, shoot, swish.

That’s exactly what Bosh did the following night with less than a minute remaining in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference semifinals. Bosh’s corner three-pointer, the result of muscle memory folded into every fiber of his 6-10 frame, gave the Heat a 97-94 lead and eventually overwhelming control in the best-of-7 series.

“He’s big time,” said LeBron James, who scored 49 points and set up Bosh’s three-pointer with a drive to the basket, “and his ability to shoot the ball is a great equalizer for our team.”

Ready to close out

The Heat, up 3-1 in the series, can close out the Nets with a victory Wednesday night at AmericanAirlines Arena. Tipoff is 7 p.m.

“Close out games are always tough,” Bosh said. “We just have to make sure that we use the home-crowd energy. We need to come out and have the same if not better disposition on defense, and we need to play a little bit better offensively.”

Bosh finished with 12 points in Game 4, and wasn’t completely happy with himself despite scoring what could turn out to be this series’ most memorable basket. He missed a pair of three-pointers late in the game before connecting on the go-ahead basket, and he didn’t like that his otherworldly teammate, James, had to score nearly 50 points for the Heat to win.

“We’ve got to do a better job of getting open,” Bosh said.

Of course, “getting open” is the reason Bosh made the decision a few years back to develop his three-point shot. When he steps outside, more often than not, Bosh is wide open.

Through eight postseason games, Bosh is 13 of 29 (44.8 percent) from three-point range. On the series-defining play Monday at Barclays Center, Bosh positioned himself in the corner while Nets defender Kevin Garnett moved inside to help defend against an attack in the paint by James.

The same set of circumstances regulary played out during the regular season.

The Heat attempted 696 corner three-pointers, tops in the league. The Clippers were a distant second with 598.

Pick your poison

James was unstoppable in Game 4, scoring 11 of 12 field goals in the restricted area while also attempting 19 free throws, so Garnett had to make a choice: layup by James or three-pointer by Bosh. Garnett made the right decision, but so did James. All Bosh had to do was the same thing he has done countless times before in gyms all over America, including that obscure patch of NCAA Division III hardwood in Manhattan’s Flatiron District.

“We’ve played together for a while, we’ve got the best player in the world and we just try to be a good supporting cast,” Bosh said. “When he kicks it out, we’re aggressive … and when we’re in our spots doing what we’re supposed to do, good things happen.”

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