All-Star forward Chris Bosh, sidelined since the All-Star break because of a blood clot in his calf that dissipated several weeks ago, addressed the team on Friday, and Goran Dragic said thinking about it gave him goose bumps.
Though neither the Heat nor Bosh has publicly addressed his status recently, there is no expectation that he will play anytime soon. Because of medical risks, athletes being treated with blood thinners are strongly discouraged from playing contact sports.
Dwyane Wade said Bosh conveyed this message: “Don’t take this for granted. You guys have an opportunity to be out in the playoffs. What I wouldn’t do to be out there.”
Wade added: “The biggest message is someone who lived for this moment. … He doesn’t have the ability to be in it.”
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Dragic said Bosh was asked to speak after coach Erik Spoelstra told each player what his role will be.
“It’s really tough for him,” Dragic said. “… But we need him — even if he’s not going to play, his ability to talk to the players, show what you’re doing wrong, how you’re supposed to do it on the floor.”
Bosh, who has three seasons left on his contract, averaged 19.1 points and 7.4 rebounds in 53 games this season.
By playing a faster tempo and improving its shooting percentage, especially from three-point range, the Heat went from 29th in the league in scoring before the All-Star break (at 96 points per game) to fifth since then, at 107.4, behind only the Warriors, Thunder, Trail Blazers and Rockets.
But will the Heat be able to keep up that pace in the playoffs, which are typically more grind-it-out, halfcourt games?
“Certain moments,” Wade said. “I don’t know that we’ll be able to put up 107 a night. You’ve got to be able to play that game at certain moments. You’ve also got to be able to execute.
“The other night versus Boston, in the [five-point] third quarter, we didn’t do a good job of executing when the game slowed down for us, when we couldn’t get out in transition. You have to have both games if you want to be good.”
▪ Hassan Whiteside this week resumed starting for the first time since before the All-Star break, and Wade said it’s an adjustment that the rest of the starters are still working through.
“He brings a different element than Amar’e [Stoudemire],” Wade said. “Coach wanted us to get to that [Whiteside starting] the last week of the season. Their bodies are totally different. The way the defense plays them [is different]. When Amar’e was starting, the corner guy didn’t come over as much. When Hassan is starting, the corner guy is always in the paint because they don’t want him to get that lob. The flow is a little different.”
▪ Tyler Johnson remains out after Feb. 4 shoulder surgery, though he continues efforts to return at some point in postseason. … Udonis Haslem intends to play through discomfort from a torn plantar fascia on his left foot. … Assistant coach Keith Smart, who had been receiving treatment for a rare form of cancer that surfaced on his jaw, was back on the floor for the first time since late January.