For Chris Bosh, the sacrifice has been worth it. Asked to do less so his team might do more, all season Bosh has withstood all the criticisms about his reduced production, ignored all the taunts about Miami’s star power really being just a production of ‘Two and a Half Men’ and not the Big Three they’ve billed themselves as.
But on Sunday, with control of the Eastern Conference finals hanging in the balance, Bosh not only justified all the hype at times— if for one night only— he looked like the best player on the floor in leading the surging Heat to a convincing 96-85 thumping of the Chicago Bulls and a 2-1 lead in their best of seven series. Game 4 is Tuesday night in Miami.
That might not come soon enough of Bosh, who, on array of jumpers, spin moves and slams, rode a red-hot hand to 13-of-18 shooting , finishing with a career playoff high 34 points, five rebounds and a renewed level of respect within NBA circles.
“I’m human, it is what it is,” said Bosh, when asked if all the slights have affected him. “You can find inspiration in all kinds of different ways. Yeah, I think about it when I’m shooting… it helps me get some extra reps up. There’s always going to be somebody throwing rocks no matter what you do.”
After Sunday, at least one somebody was starting to sing a different refrain. “I always have respect for Bosh,” said Bulls forward Carlos Boozer, despite his taunting words prior to the start of the series that Miami only “has two great players” in LeBron James and Dwyane Wade.
But after Bosh’s second 30-point game of the series, Chicago coaches are beginning to wonder if just that might be enough. “Our rebounding was good, but challenging their shots was not. We might have to make a few adjustments,” said Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau.
Boozer led the Bulls with 26 points and 17 rebounds, while league MVP Derrick Rose chipped in with 20 points, five rebounds and five assist. — Glenn Minnis