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May 24, 2014; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Heat center Chris Bosh (1) is guarded by Indiana Pacers forward David West (21) in game three of the Eastern Conference Finals of the 2014 NBA Playoffs at American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Miami Heat: Can They Survive With Chris Bosh Disappearing?

The Miami Heat are getting used to the Chris Bosh disappearing act, but can they make it through the Indiana Pacers and the Western Conference champions to win their third consecutive NBA championship without him? He put up another stinker in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals, which begs the question — where is the real Bosh?

Bosh scored just nine points on 4-for-12 from the field and didn’t go to the foul line in 23:12 last night. He pulled down just four rebounds, recorded one steal and committed five personal fouls. This wasn’t an aberration, either. Bosh has been horrible for the Heat, though players like Norris Cole and Ray Allen have stepped up to make up for it.

Bosh is now averaging 9.0 points, 4.0 rebounds, 1.3 assists and 1.0 steals for the series. He’s shooting 36.4 percent from the field, 16.7 percent from the 3-point line and he’s made half of his TWO free-throw attempts. His offensive rating of 84 is horrific. For the playoffs, Bosh is doing slightly better, averaging 13.2 points, 5.2 rebounds, 1.1 assists and 1.3 blocks per game. He’s shooting 47.3 percent from the field, 40.4 percent from the 3-point line and 71.4 percent from the foul stripe.

We all know that LeBron James and Dwyane Wade are the focal points of the offense and we’re not likely to see the dominant bosh that existed back in Toronto. In fact, the last two seasons in which the Heat won the title, Bosh has been downright average. Take a look at his playoff averages over his career:

Season Age Tm G GS MP FG% 3P% 2P% FT% TRB AST STL BLK TOV PF PTS
2006-07 22 TOR 6 6 37.0 .396 .200 .407 .842 9.0 2.5 0.8 1.8 2.0 3.2 17.5
2007-08 23 TOR 5 5 39.8 .472 .143 .500 .833 9.0 3.6 1.6 0.4 2.6 3.8 24.0
2010-11 26 MIA 21 21 39.7 .474 .000 .481 .814 8.5 1.1 0.7 0.9 1.9 2.3 18.6
2011-12 ❍ 27 MIA 14 10 31.4 .493 .538 .489 .827 7.8 0.6 0.4 1.0 1.4 1.4 14.0
2012-13 ❍ 28 MIA 23 23 32.7 .458 .405 .468 .733 7.3 1.5 1.0 1.6 1.2 2.9 12.1
2013-14 29 MIA 12 12 33.3 .473 .404 .512 .714 5.2 1.1 0.8 1.3 0.7 2.5 13.2
Career 81 77 35.1 .466 .381 .477 .802 7.6 1.4 0.8 1.2 1.5 2.5 15.4
4 seasons MIA 70 66 34.6 .473 .406 .482 .791 7.4 1.1 0.8 1.2 1.4 2.4 14.6
2 seasons TOR 11 11 38.3 .433 .167 .452 .838 9.0 3.0 1.2 1.2 2.3 3.5 20.5
Provided by Basketball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 5/25/2014.

It’s apparent that Bosh just isn’t producing the way he once did. Part of that is his usage rate, as he often plays decoy while James and Wade slash to the bucket. The threat of Bosh knocking down jumpers often frees up the opposite corner, where Allen does most of his damage.

Still, Bosh is playing like a shell of himself during this series. Nobody thought that Bosh was a stud defensive player, but Luis Scola made him look downright silly on two different occasions during last night’s game. On one, Scola rolled off of Bosh and pulled a YMCA-like flip up to the bucket, right underneath Bosh’s reach. That’s amateur stuff and Bosh fell for it hook, line and sinker.

Against the Pacers, it doesn’t look like it’s going to make much of a difference. Sure, the team would like Bosh to get going a bit, but they should cruise through this series. Once the San Antonio Spurs come calling (most likely, at least) it’s not going to go so easily.

The Spurs aren’t as good of a defense, but the Heat aren’t going to be able to afford the offensive lulls they go through. If they spot the Spurs a 15-point lead, the Heat can’t bank on the Spurs to go cold and start turning the ball over as the Pacers have. That’s where Bosh needs to step in.

James and Wade need to get rest from time to time, which is where Bosh is supposed to shine. He’s never going to be a terrific offensive player again (at least not in this system), but he’s totally abandoned his game. He’s fallen in love with shooting the 3-pointer and barely goes to the basket anymore. The fact that he has just 11 offensive rebounds through 12 games this playoff run says as much. Back in 2011-12, Bosh had 36 offensive rebounds in 14 games.

The Heat are on a collision course with the Spurs, who are looking every bit as dominant as ever. If they’re going to defeat them and win their third consecutive NBA title, they’re going to need every ounce of good Bosh they can get. Maybe he’s just getting all the bad Bosh out of his system now — at least we hope that’s what he’s doing.

Tags: Chris Bosh Miami Heat NBA

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