Chris Bosh proved Tuesday that Heat fans still have a big name they can believe in.
Bosh had an assertive game in Miami's second preseason contest, a 108-101 overtime loss to Orlando that wrapped up in AmericanAirlines Arena just hours before the Heat flew to Rio de Janiero to face LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavilers on Saturday.
Bosh and Luol Deng each scored 18 points to pace the Heat (0-2).
Bosh rebounded from his 3-of-13 shooting performance in Miami's preseason opening loss to New Orleans on Saturday by going 7 of 13 from the field Tuesday.
“He let the game come to him a little bit more, and he’s got such a great feel for how to attack, facilitate, spread the floor, how to get guys involved,” coach Erik Spoelstra said of Bosh. “He has to do everything for us in that regard and be able to strike a balance between all of those different things, and I thought he did a good job of that tonight.”
Miami’s second loss of its new era revealed little other than the fact that Bosh, Deng and Dwyane Wade, who contributed 11 points Tuesday, are slowly gelling as a core trio.
Bosh said they are still getting used to each other — Deng still has some habits from his Chicago days that need adjusting — but he isn’t worried about the three coming together.
“I think so far, for it being early, it’s OK,” Bosh said. “We still have a lot to get used to, I mean it’s the same system but implementing different pieces of course out there and different plays a little bit, reading and reacting to each other, it’s going to take some time, but I think from the first game to today it was a lot better.”
But for now, firming up the defense is still the team’s priority.
Orlando shot 45.5 percent from the field and 35 percent from behind the arc, with Nikola Vucevic leading the team with 16 points.
“We have to tighten up on defense,” Bosh said. “We're not worried about offense too much, that’s going to come, but we just have to get those rotations and coverages correct on defense and that's going to take some time, too.”
Long-range shooting also continued to plague Miami. The team went 5 for 32 from behind the arc and not a single Heat player made more than one three-pointer.
With defense and perimeter shooting already tagged as areas for improvement, Miami’s youth corps took the court late in the game and managed enough spark to surge the team into overtime.
Rookies Shabaz Napier, James Ennis and Shannon Brown combined for 26 points on the night, 10 of which from Ennis in the fourth quarter.
Ennis finished with 14 po ints and 10 rebounds while also providing a defensive jolt of the bench.
Backup center Chris Andersen also made his preseason debut Tuesday. Fully recovered form a sore calf that kept him out of the game in Louisville, Birdman clocked seven points and five rebounds in 19 minutes.