On Monday, in advance of Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals, ESPN’s Tom Haberstroh reported that Miami Heat All-Star Chris Bosh actually apologized to his team following the Heat’s Game 6 loss on Saturday against the Indiana Pacers.
Bosh shot 1-8 in that game, missing his last seven attempts from the field while showing absolutely no confidence on the offensive end for the final 47 minutes of the contest. The Heat star, who has missed 16 of his last 21 shots, called it like he saw it at shootaround on Monday. From Haberstroh’s column:
Bosh has failed to score in double digits in three consecutive games for the first time since his rookie season in 2003-04. Bosh said he hopes to have a better Game 7 after "not being aggressive and not playing my best ball."
"It's hard, it's difficult," Bosh said. "Everything you're going to do in the postseason is difficult. And you're going to be put in situations you don't want to be in and you're going to have to do things that you don't want to do. It's part of it, so you might as well get used to it, being miserable and really loving it."
Yikes, Chris. Yikes.
Dwyane Wade was wrong to indirectly criticize LeBron James (and the Miami Heat coaching staff, I suppose) for going away from both Wade and Bosh in Game 6. Partially because both Wade and Bosh were given good looks and opportunities to contribute, especially early in the loss, but mostly because not all of this malaise is the fault of James or the coaching staff’s selections. The Pacers are this good, people, and they’ve been doing this all year. Try and get hip to a cleaner version of what Roy Hibbert admonished reporters with on Saturday night.
The Pacers chase you out of where you want to go, while encouraging low percentage shots. They also try not to toss out double-teams if at all possible, which means Bosh’s chances at feeding off of James’ passing work is limited, Wade is a complete non-factor at this point, incapable of supplying Chris with good looks, and each of Bosh’s isolations have turned into stop-the-world one-on-one moves with the entire stadium standing around waiting for Chris to go up.
Because the Pacers vacuum out all the offensive rhythm, the pressure builds with each shot. It’s why Bosh missed seven in a row after hitting his first three-pointer during Saturday’s Game 6, and it’s why it still felt as if the game got away from Bosh despite those eight chances from the field. Suddenly the buzzer goes off, and once again you’ve failed to make an imprint on the game.
Thus, the apology.
And hopefully for Miami, the turnaround. Chris Bosh is too talented and too versatile offensively to stay shut out for too long, and it’s more than likely the Heat coaching staff have prepared themselves to take advantage of this. Just 48 hours after playing through a major fever and one day after a travel day, David West could be more than spent as he gears up for Game 7. A player like Bosh doesn’t have to down David West with perfect move after perfect move, he just has to use that length and touch and get the ball on the rim. Preferably quickly, before Roy Hibbert ambles over to help.
If he can’t capitalize, then he should apologize. Not only for the next four months until training camp, but for the next eight months following -- up until Bosh is given a chance to atone for his poor shooting in next year’s playoff run.