The Heat should get Dwyane Wade a white lab coat.
While the Miami superstar has not earned his PhD, like Shaq, Sunday night Wade for the first in his career cleared an NBA player to come off the injured list. Before Wade's failed last second three-point attempt landed on the parquet floor, the Heat were laying Chris Bosh's home white uniform in his locker at American Airlines Arena in Miami.
Whether Dr. Wade's forced diagnosis is correct or not, it appears that Chris Bosh is going to be playing in Game 5. It's obvious at this point that Miami feels that they can't beat the Boston Celtics with Bosh on the bench. While this could possibly be viewed as a panic move, especially considering the report that Bosh will be playing in Game 5 was all over the internet about 30 seconds, if Bosh is truly healthy and ready to play, it is the right move.
Some view Bosh's reinsertion into the rotation as an answer to the dominant play of Kevin Garnett down low. The Heat's lack of depth in the front court has hurt them in the series, but if they are relying on Chris Bosh's defense on KG to swing the momentum of the series back in Miami's favor I believe they'll be disappointed. KG has traditionally played very well against Chris Bosh, even at 100%. Bosh hasn't played a game in anger in weeks (if ever), and Game 1 of the Pacers series, or any game in the Knicks series can match the intensity of a Boston-Miami Eastern Conference Finals. If Miami is forced to play Bosh on KG for big minutes, the match-up should favor the Celtics. I don't believe that Miami sees Bosh's biggest impact coming on the defensive end.
If Chris Bosh truly is going to be the X-factor in the final three games of the series, it's his ability to pull Celtics bigs, specifically KG, away from the paint, opening up James and Wade for drives. KG's impact on the Heat's Big Two has come on his help defense; his wiry, lanky shadow has been stretched across the path to the basket in front of James and Wade every time they have the ball in their hands. If KG's man was able to hit open shots from the perimeter, he'd have to vacate the paint, opening things up for the Heat. In Game 1, the Celtics had KG covering Shane Battier and Mike Miller at times. Early on KG stayed close to the paint and the Heat shooters got going. Later, he'd be out further on the shooters and late rotating to the hoop. The Celtics were blown out. KG's impact is the most obvious of any player on the defensive end of either team. Every time he goes to the bench, the first offensive play for the Heat ends in a Lebron James dunk, followed by Celtics players looking behind them before realizing that the backstop is sitting on the bench. If Chris Bosh can have this effect on the Celtics defense, than Boston will come home down 3-2.
Here's the thing, though. KG isn't going to guard Chris Bosh. Brandon Bass is.
Brandon Bass has had trouble fitting in this series. As I mentioned in the series preview, I thought that Bass had to have a big series in order for the Celtics to win. So far, on both ends of the floor, Bass has been disappointing at worst, and underwhelming at best. With Chris Bosh returning for Game 5, I think Bass has an opportunity to shine. Up to this point, Bass has had to cover perimeter players like Shane Battier in the series. Battier, while never a speed demon and even slower with advancing age, still has a crafty offensive game. Bass has struggled biting on pump fakes and closing out too ferociously, allowing Battier to go baseline or draw fouls on the Celtics forward. Bass is an undersized forward who is used to having to play bigger against bigger opponents. When Bass is on Bosh he returns to his defensive comfort level, covering a bigger player.
Offensively, Bass will benefit from facing Chris Bosh as well. Miami has done a great job smothering Bass as soon as he gets the ball. Bass is a turnover machine when he isn't doing the one thing that he does well, shooting. Brandon Bass controls his dribbling like a 90-year old at a nap time, and under pressure, the guy can't pass a kidney stone. Battier and others Miami have thrown at him haven't allowed him the space to knock down his deadly mid-range shot and the lack of opportunities has hurt his rhythm. A healthy Chris Bosh on defense let's opponent get comfortable offensively. Bass should be able to get off a few shots, and if he makes them, it will open up his power dribble move to the rim. Bosh can't match a wide body like Haslem, or the defensive will of a Battier for that matter, and won't put up much of a fight if Bass gets moving toward the rim and clears him out with a power move.
Both offensively and defensively Brandon Bass should be able to more than cancel out for the Celtics any tangible boost that Chris Bosh gives the Heat. Miami will have to look for other players and adjustments to counteract what Boston has done to them the last two games.
The Heat should give Wade stethoscope too. He can use it to find what his team seems to lack, what Boston has in abundance, and maybe the only true X-factor that will decide this seris: heart.
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