Bosh takes step forward
Still no timetable after light workout
MIAMI - Heat forward Chris Bosh, who is recovering from an abdominal strain, took part in what coach Erik Spoelstra called “a very light workout on the court’’ Sunday. But Spoelstra cautioned that the step was only a progression in Bosh’s rehab, not a sign that he would be playing again soon.
“There still is not a timetable,’’ Spoelstra said Monday before Miami’s 93-79 win over Boston in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals at AmericanAirlines Arena. “I wouldn’t over-read into his workout. We’ll continue to reevaluate him every day. He’ll continue to do his rehab. When he starts legitimate basketball work, I’ll pay attention a little more.’’
While the Heat are eagerly awaiting Bosh’s return, forward LeBron James said he isn’t checking up on him every day. He said he’ll know Bosh is back when a uniform is hung in his locker.
Bosh has been helping with preparation when the team is in Miami, and did some light work Monday, although none of that on the court.
“He’s around,’’ guard Dwyane Wade said. “He’s up and down, film sessions, he’s up on the court. He’s getting involved locally to help us when we go through plays in walkthrough.
“He’s getting his mind working. We’ve just got to get his body working.’’
Wade said Bosh has been talking to the forwards who will fill in for him and might have to guard Kevin Garnett.
“He has experience playing against these guys, especially last year,’’ Wade said. “He’s been doing a lot of communication.’’
Though the Heat are confident that they can beat the Celtics even without Bosh - as they did the Pacers - Wade acknowledged it won’t be easy. The Heat are built around having all three of their stars, and they remain a bit thin with Bosh on the sideline.
“We’re going to miss his versatility, what he brings to us on the offensive end, his height, his length, his will,’’ Wade said. “The luxury we have is to have three guys that you can go to and they can say get us a bucket. We’re going to miss that as well.
“But we don’t cry over spoiled milk. We just want him to get healthy. The guys that we’ve got are good enough to win ballgames, and that’s what we’re going to try to do.’’
Rondo a concern
For the Heat, like the Hawks and Sixers before them, the greatest challenge might be finding a way to stop Rajon Rondo.
The Heat spent a lot of time talking about the Celtics’ point guard leading up to Game 1.
And like the Hawks and Sixers as well, Wade referred to Rondo as “the head of the snake.’’ He also called Rondo “one of the smartest gamblers in the league on defense.’’
Said Spoelstra, “Everybody talks about how he’s the X factor. His greatness is his unpredictability. He’s a game-changer.
“Probably more than anything he recognizes the time. He recognizes whatever the team needs at the appropriate time, and that can be anything. You can’t predict. It can be a defensive play, a steal, a rebound, an offensive rebound, a 3-pointer when you don’t think he’s a shooter. It can be breaking it down off the dribble. It can be finding any one of those Hall of Famers for a wide-open shot.
“But he transcends a definition of a point guard. What he is is a winner.’’
Rondo had 16 points, 9 rebounds, and 7 assists in a game-high 44 minutes 20 seconds. He also committed four turnovers.
The Heat had 11 blocked shots, with each one of their starters getting at least one, and James leading the team with three.
“We were very active on the defensive end,’’ Shane Battier said. “That is what we have to be. That is who we are at our best. We are active, rotating, and just trying to make plays on the ball.’’
As James said, most of the team’s blocks don’t go out of bounds, “so it allows us to get out in fast break and get out on the floor.’’
Lending a hand
Battier (10 points, 10 rebounds) joined James (32 points, 13 rebounds) with a double-double. “I have not had 10 rebounds in about three years,’’ Battier, who actually had four games with double-digit rebounds last season, said. “When we rebound and hold a sizable advantage on the boards, it allows us to do so much on the offensive end. That is the first key to us winning games.’’ The Heat outrebounded the Celtics, 48-33 . . . Heading into Game 1, Miami was looking to take advantage of the Celtics having less than 48 hours between the end of Game 7 against the Sixers and the start of this series. “We’ll just try to use the first game to be about energy and effort and not get into too much of a thinking game yet,’’ Wade said before the game. “Try to use our home crowd, try to use our couple days of rest and try to make it an up-and-down game as much as possible.’’ . . . Despite most prognosticators picking against the Celtics, Spoelstra said Boston is in a good position. “Everybody has counted them out,’’ he said before the game. “They’re exactly where they want to be, everybody counting them out and claiming that they’re this or they’re that. They’re not. That’s how they’ve been able to win. Even when they had that championship run. Seven-game series. They grind games, they do it with their defense, and they do it with timely, proficient offense.’’
Amalie Benjamin can be reached at email@example.com.