With the Miami up 2-1 in the NBA Eastern Conference Finals, Bosh has four less points than Ray Allen, one less blocked shot than Mario Chalmers, and 11 less rebounds than bench spark plug Chris Andersen. In essence, the Miami Heat are dominating the unruly Pacers despite and without Chris Bosh.
That’s not to say that Bosh hasn’t helped the Heat in their journey to a fourth-straight Eastern Conference Finals, he had major moments against the Brooklyn Nets, he just hasn’t been playing up to his Heatle status. In this series, he’s shooting a laughable 36 percent from the field, while averaging 9 points, 4 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 1 steal, and 0.33 blocks. And that doesn’t just illustrate a troubling trend for this go-around, Bosh has averaged 7.9 points and 4.6 rebounds on 30 percent shooting in the last seven postseason games against Indy. He hasn’t cracked 10 points in any of those head-to-heads. Just paltry stuff.
He could be excused for his subpar stretch against Indiana if he were being a factor on the defensive end. But, as this Luis Scola spin down the baseline shows, he hasn’t been holding his own on that front either. He recently cited his deteriorating post game as a side effect of being a defensive go-to guy for his team. As the Heat’s primary pick-and-roll defender, which factors greatly into a rabid Miami defense, he just doesn’t have much energy left over to bang with big bodies in the paint.
He’s said, ““It gets tiring. What they ask us to do, to blitz the screen-and-roll every single one, close out and get back. I was already 20-30 pounds lighter than everybody else, so all that stuff just takes my energy.”
But that does little to explain why he hasn’t been a defensive factor in this series, why he’s gone 2-for-12 from distance which is doing little to pull Hibbert away from the basket, and why he’s allowing Ian Mahinmi to do this to him.
The Heat, of course, are in a cushy position if they can continue to give Indiana trouble with Bosh playing like a fossil of his former self. But the story could change in a blur if the Pacers can take Game 4 with Game 5 back in Indiana. Which is why it’s important that Bosh re-purpose his mindset that has him thinking that threes should be his dominant weapon. He’s never been an Al Jefferson in the post, but is skilled enough and an able enough passer to draw and abuse double teams when going into the post.
“And for some odd reason, I always get double-teamed still. I don’t understand it. And that’s the reason I really stopped, because every time I go down there, I got double-teams. I was like, ‘For what?’ They won’t double-team LeBron, but they’ll double-team me.” His reasoning is wonky as it doesn’t matter whether he deserves the added attention or not, if he’s getting it, he can use it to bend opposing defenses and get open looks for his teammates. He certainly has options, even if just on the perimeter, as he plays with a guy named Ray Allen.
Plus, looking to the post for points can be a good way of getting him going offensively against a team that he matches up horribly against. His mindset, though, just isn’t there: “I don’t bang with anybody anymore. It’s a tired thing for me. It’s not my strength and I understand that. So, be smart and play within the team offense, but be aggressive at the same time.” To make matters worse, it doesn’t look like Miami are actively seeking his presence in the post either. So when Bosh has settled for spot-up threes that clunk against the rim, they’ve just gone to guys like Chris Andersen and Rashard Lewis.
With Bosh struggling mightily, the Heat outscored the Pacers in Game 3’s second half solely on the backs of James, Wade, and Allen. Miami has been able to mask his deficiencies up until now but they’re just not the same team with Bosh playing the part of a glorified role player. If the Pacers can get their house in order, they might just use it against the Heat before the issue can be resolved.