May 17th, 2012 | By love not hate
When the Miami Heat lost Game 2 of their series with the Indiana Pacers, fans and media that have always been quick to mock Chris Bosh’s contributions suddenly changed course. Bosh miraculously transformed into a key cog in the Heat lineup whose absence severely crippled his team’s chances of victory. LeBron James acknowledged that playing out of position at the power forward was “taxing” and probably contributed to his end-of-game passivity.
More than anything else, his absence revealed the lack of depth in the Miami Heat roster. Beyond the talented trio of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Bosh, the rest of the role players have not stepped up. Udonis Haslem and Shane Battier both had career low shooting percentages in 2011-12, despite having more open looks. Playing with three superstars should open up acres of space on the court, but perhaps age is catching up to them.
Besides the Big 3, the rest of the Heat roster has combined for 21 and 23 points in Games 1 and 2 respectively. With that kind of continued lack of production from their role players, the Heat will struggle to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals.
Dwyane Wade largely avoids the massive criticism heaped on LeBron after every loss, probably because he has already led a team to a championship. On the other hand, LeBron must carry the burden of every great player who hasn’t won a championship and will face unfair criticism from all sides until he gets one. Missing free throws, giving the ball up, and disengaging during the fourth quarter has become a worrying habit. But one can’t help but remember his spectacular performances in the postseason series against the Celtics and Bulls last spring when he was the best player on the court by a wide margin. That’s what makes his occasional fourth quarter disappearing act so frustrating.
It will be interesting to see where LeBron plays in Game 3 in Indiana, and what adjustments Erik Spoelstra makes to his rotation. The home crowd will be amped for the Heat’s arrival, but as the Boston Celtics showed Wednesday night it is possible to snatch back momentum in a mere 48 minutes.
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