A certain calm has befallen Dwyane Wade and LeBron James. Smaller lineups, more fast-breaking, ingenuity indulged. Room to slash through the paint and dish to shooters. There’s been an offensive flow, a prescribed formula they are actually sticking too – pick-n-rolls over isolations, drives to the basket over contested jumpers. We can thank Chris Bosh’s absence for that.
Adding Bosh to the puzzle is undoubtedly a step in the right direction – but at this juncture in the series, a belabored reintegration could destroy any and all rhythm Miami has developed. Game 5, really, is the series for the Heat. “The series is 2-2!” you may cry, and I’m not one to dispute facts – this is a dogfight and Miami isn’t exactly dominating. The real difference, however, isn’t Bosh, but Wade’s continuous disappearing act in the beginning of games. Most notably, his true-shooting percentage is 38.8 percent for the first quarter in the 2012 Playoffs. Worst of all, he’s getting quality shots in spots that suit him. Despite his particularly low mid-range shooting percentage for the playoffs – 32 percent – it’s even lower in the first quarter: 13 percent.
By the second half, Wade figures himself out and gets back to being Dwyane Wade – 46 percent from midrange and an astounding 95 percent (20-21) from the restricted area in the third quarter – but only in time to storm back and create a close game.
If, perhaps, Wade emerges from his self-induced coma at the start of Game 5 – which will be more difficult if Bosh is suddenly back in the lineup – we’ll revel in those flashes of brilliance that callously remind us of the reason for LeBron’s fateful decision. They’re mesmerizing in an innovative way, a sort of on-court renaissance – just only when they end in two points for Miami.
But back to Bosh. He’s vanilla. Solid, unexciting but apathetically effective. And that’s all good and well, but in his currently injured state, the staple of his game, the stable yin to Wade and James’ high-flying yang, becomes an obstruction. He’ll need touches to regain flow and the offense will revert to its awkward who-gets-the-ball-now ways. In time, Miami will need Bosh – especially in the next round. They’re simply better with a third scoring option, as all teams are. But for now, Miami has a formula that works against Boston, simply because they don’t have the athletes to handle LeBron or Wade. Plus, it’s more fun when Bosh can ride the bench and contort his face as he sees fit.
Should Bosh play tonight if he’s not 100 percent?
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