Chris Bosh has felt the heat this season and not just from moving from Toronto to Miami.
The Heat power forward has been criticized by many, including myself, for playing too soft or passive. He’s part of the latest Big 3, but Bosh wasn’t carrying his weight like LeBron James and Dwyane Wade had been.
In the playoffs, Bosh has been playing closer to his potential, particularly in the Eastern Conference finals against the Chicago Bulls. Bosh averaged 23.2 points in the series the Heat won in five games. He had two 30-point games in the series and in Game 5, Bosh’s double-double of 20 points and 10 rebounds was needed to beat the Bulls in Chicago.
He’s still the third option heading into his first NBA Final to James and Wade, but if he plays well, that will make it even more difficult for the Mavericks to slow down the Heat.
Here are four other keys to the series for the Heat.
1. In different spots. LeBron James must continue to do his share of post ups and play off the ball to make Dallas adjust. It can’t be just him pounding the ball from the top of the key. His mid-level post up with the fade jumper looks a tad weird, but when he’s making that, James is a nightmare.
2. Rediscover D-Wade. Right now, Dwyane Wade looks mortal. Seems to have a shoulder problem. Not shooting well. Missing dunks. Miami can’t afford him to play that away against Dallas or it will fall. Then again, James and Bosh can keep Miami close and win a game or two on their own, but a better way makes Miami a better team.
3. Pick-and-roll Dirk. Whoever Dirk Nowitzki is guarding, have that guy run pick-and-roll to force Dirk to make decisions on the perimeter. The best way to slow Dirk down is to get him in foul trouble. Make him work on defense to weaken those legs a bit so he can’t hit all those one-legged shots in the fourth quarter.
4. Contain shooters. Dirk is going to get his. Don’t let others go nuts on you as well like JJ Barea, Jason Kidd, Jason Terry and Peja Stojakovic.
Bonus. Force tempo. While many say that plays into Dallas’ hands because it can score, the truth is, Miami is better at it, especially when it comes off its defense. When forcing turnovers and scoring in transition, the Heat become even better on defense.