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Heat's Chris Bosh is 'game-time' decision to play in Game 5 of East finals

MIAMI – The Miami Heat appear ready to welcome back Chris Bosh Tuesday night.

Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said Bosh is a game-time decision for Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals. Bosh has missed the past nine playoff games with a lower abdominal strain. The Heat went 5-4 without Bosh, but have lost their past two games to the Boston Celtics. The series is tied 2-2.

"If it happens, that's a much easier challenge that we'd look forward to rather than the alternative," Spoelstra said. "It's an easier challenge to assimilate him because of his skill level and where he plays on the court. He helps us space the court. We play through him at the high post. All those things we have been doing naturally for two years. Doing that without him is the bigger challenge."

[Related: Marc J. Spears: The Heat's LeBron James didn't enjoy the way his Game 4 ended]

Spoelstra was encouraged by Bosh taking part in "real basketball work" on Monday and at Tuesday morning's shootaround. Bosh has averaged 14.7 points and 6.8 rebounds in this year's playoffs. Shane Battier has started in his absence.

Heat guard Dwyane Wade has been blanketed by the Celtics' double-teams this series and is hopeful Bosh's return will divert some of the attention. Spoelstra wasn't certain how many minutes Bosh would play.

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