Chris Bosh fuels Miami Heat with big shots, defense on Al Jefferson
04/24/2014 12:01 AM
04/24/2014 11:03 AM
Heat forward Chris Bosh’s first quarter of Game 2 would’ve driven Heat fans en masse to 1-900-Hate-on-Bosh, had that line existed after he registered the same number of fouls (two) as points, shots taken and rebounds combined. Ah, but then came the Bosh offensive contributions to the Heat’s 101-97 win.
They would’ve hung up the phone in the second and third quarter. Bosh found his range from behind the three-point line and even contributed the rare rejection of Charlotte’s Al Jefferson, reduced by his injured foot to scoring on the Heat with an old man game of little lateral movement or jumping.
Then, just as they prepared to pick up the phone again in the fourth quarter, Bosh halted the 10-0 Charlotte run that injected tension in the final minutes. His 20-foot jumper with 4:21 left pushed the Heat lead to 93-87. The next time down the floor, Bosh rolled into the lane past Jefferson for a one-hander off the glass to give the Heat a 95-87 lead with 3:36 left after what would be the team’s last field goals.
“It was in the rhythm of the game,” Bosh said with a verbal shrug. “I was open.”
Heat coach Erik Spoelstra similarly sounded almost dismissive of Bosh’s 20-point night on 8 of 11 shooting, four of five from three-point range.
“This is the tough thing about Chris — the only time people notice his value is if he’s knocking down shots. And he does so many other things,” Spoelstra said. “The radar goes up, he knocked down some threes tonight. But look on the other end. How many pick and rolls he has to play with [Charlotte point guard] Kemba Walker. Containing those, rotating back defending Jefferson (in) one-on-one coverage; helping when guys get beat off the dribble, then on the other end space the floor, facilitate, find ways to be aggressive and attack. I think he struck that balance tonight.”
Jefferson wound up with 18 points but still hasn’t shot a free throw in the series.
“We just wanted to play solid defense,” Bosh said. “Make sure we play between him and the basket and not get any ticky-tack fouls. And stay down on his pump fakes. That’s where he gets a lot of his foul calls, when he gets you up in the air.”
Spoelstra always extols what Bosh gives up for the Heat as far as preferred role and gaudy statistics. Bosh often points out he spent his first seven NBA seasons in Toronto compiling nice statistics but on teams that got nowhere in the playoffs.
Bosh said, “I know I don’t dunk and hit a bunch of crazy shots. I just want to play effective basketball. All the other stuff doesn’t matter to me. As long as I’m effective for my teammates, that’s what’s most important.
“I never force things. I don’t care about numbers. I just want to win.”