Ethan J. Skolnick

Bosh lifts Heat in Toronto — with his words — when they needed it most in Game 1

Toronto Raptors' Kyle Lowry (7) reacts after making a buzzer beater three point basket to tie the game against the Miami Heat in regulation time during the second half in Game 1 of a second-round NBA basketball playoff series, Tues., May 3, 2016 in Toronto.
Toronto Raptors' Kyle Lowry (7) reacts after making a buzzer beater three point basket to tie the game against the Miami Heat in regulation time during the second half in Game 1 of a second-round NBA basketball playoff series, Tues., May 3, 2016 in Toronto. AP

Dwyane Wade couldn’t think straight. Not yet. He’d been under the basket, watching Kyle Lowry’s shot from 39 feet away head directly towards him, directly towards a tie, towards overtime.

“I needed a minute,” Wade said.

Goran Dragic thought he’d secured a 1-0 series lead with a putaway three-pointer.

“I was cursing,” Dragic said. “We gave that game away!”

Even Udonis Haslem, who typically takes the reins of resetting the Heat’s emotional equilibrium, was too distraught to direct them.

That’s when the ghost on the Heat sidelines, who has been sidelined since Feb. 9 and hasn’t spoken publicly since Feb. 13, gave voice to what needed to occur now.

And what would occur, in a 102-96 overtime victory.

“Everybody was quiet except C.B.,” said Joe Johnson, who arrived after Chris Bosh was sidelined, and has never played with him for the Heat. “C.B. was telling us, ‘Man, this (bleep) ain’t over. We got to keep grinding. We got five minutes to win this game.’ We came out and responded. We got a bucket right off the bat.

Johnson did: a six-foot turnaround.

“Matter of fact, we went up six quick,” Johnson said. “We just stayed poised, man. Obviously, it was disheartening. I was just thinking, ‘Damn, he would make this against us.’ I always think the worst in those situations.”

But the best came out of it.

Johnson wasn’t the only to credit Bosh for keeping everyone calm.

“I was sitting next to Chris,” Dragic said. “He said, ‘Look, (Lowry) made an unbelievable shot. Everybody put their heads up. You’re in the first game of the playoffs, you’re in a hostile environment, we’re gonna play overtime. If somebody gives us that before the game, we would sign it immediately.’ But of course, when you’re up nine points. But he tried to twist that in a positive way, and I think that helps a lot.”

So what did Bosh, who flew up to Toronto on owner Micky Arison’s jet Tuesday, have to say about his contribution?

Nothing for the record.

He was already out of the locker room, walking down the corridor with Adrienne and cracking jokes with people he knew from his Toronto days, before reporters entered.

The Ethan Skolnick Show airs every weekday on 790 The Ticket from 4-7 p.m. Twitter: @EthanJSkolnick

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