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Celtics-Heat Game 7: Chris Bosh becomes the ultimate ‘stretch’ four

Jun 10, 2012, 3:01 AM EDT

Boston Celtics v Miami Heat - Game Seven

Tell me you saw it coming. I’ll call you a liar. Chris Bosh, the most maligned of the Big 3 in Miami, the one everyone questions the toughness of, put the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals. Eight-for-10, 19 points, eight rebounds and it doesn’t even begin to describe his performance in the Heat’s 101-88 win over the Boston Celtics in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals.

Bosh, who only returned from an abdominal injury in Game 5, stepped up and had the game of his career. It wasn’t just the shots, major, huge, boulder-stone threes that he dropped in on the Celtics when they left him on the perimeter, it was the defense. Twice, Bosh intercepted passes intended for lobs to Kevin Garnett. Finally, finally, finally, the Heat had figured out a way to combat the Celtics’ lob to KG. Stick the big long athletic guy in there and have him mess things up.

It was maybe the finest moment of Bosh’s career. The player most often criticized for a lack of toughness and an inability to contain his emotions came through with a huge game fueled by smart play and passion. Bosh played through his recovery and nailed huge shot after huge shot, making play after play. Bosh, as cerebral a player as you’re likely to come across, famously sobbed walking off the floor in last year’s Finals. Now he’ll have another chance to make amends, and finally turn the lasting image of him into a winner.

In a lot of ways, the injury to Bosh was the best thing that could have happened for his career. No longer was he the irrelevant member of the Big 3. He was the missing piece, the player they really needed, the reason they would lose. His return was gifted with low expectations and he surpassed them by miles. He gave the Heat a lift in Game 6 and put them over the top with Game 7, this final frame against the Celtics standing as his finest playoff performance to date, at least in the minds of most.

Bosh spread the floor, something that none of the other Heat shooters were able to do, and provided them with a weapon the Celtics weren’t expecting. The game, the series, really, had devolved into a series of predictable punches. Bosh gave them something the Celtics had not schemed for. Bosh told reporters late that he’d been practicing threes. Andrew Bynum is thrilled to hear this. But Bosh shot the same way he hits his mid-range jumpers. It was the same flow, the same motion, the same everything. Just a little further out.

So now Chris Bosh has redefined his narrative, as the Heat have redefined theirs. The old story of Bosh is dead for now. And if he plays like this in the Finals, there will be nothing to cry about.

  1. mungman69 - Jun 10, 2012 at 4:43 AM

    Remember that Miami didn’t have Bosh for the first 4 games. Miami IS the best team and they will prove it. Miami in 5.

  2. lucky5934 - Jun 10, 2012 at 5:26 AM

    No longer was he the irrelevant member of the Big 3. He was the missing piece.

    Hey Matt,

    Did you even watch the NBA Finals last year? Bosh was the reason the Heat were competitive when Lebron faded. Bosh may be the third guy in the minds of a casual fan, but to people who actually watch the games, Bosh has always been the most consistent player on the team.

  3. gmsalpha - Jun 10, 2012 at 8:01 AM

    Bosh is by far my favorite Miami Heat player. I’d really like to see him win a championship.

    It’s just unfortunate that if he wins one, LeBron wins one too. Here in Orlando, the radio guys formed a group called HATE (Heat Are The Enemy), which I’m a proud member of, but I do enjoy watching Bosh succeed. Sadly for him and the rest of his teammates, they will likely lose in 5 to Oklahoma City. They are a real TEAM.

    • truthhurtstoo - Jun 10, 2012 at 8:37 AM

      This shows just how petty losers can be… Orlando, really?

    • duane888 - Jun 11, 2012 at 1:30 AM

      The real ‘magic’ in Orlando left with Shaq.

  4. cantonbound13 - Jun 10, 2012 at 8:03 AM

    OKC in 5!

  5. carolinakid - Jun 10, 2012 at 8:10 AM

    With Bosh dropping 3’s and playing defense like that ……….

    Heat in 6 !

    And King James will get his crown.

  6. jimeejohnson - Jun 10, 2012 at 10:05 AM

    Many folks have claimed Bosh is a useless loser, Looks like it’s the other way around! Meanwhile, I am not a fan of either team, but a fan of the great game of basketball. Cannot wait to see Kevin Durant and LeBron James put on a world class show BEFORE this summer’s Olympic tournament. Good luck to both teams in this year’s finals. Great to see a small market team like OKC in the finals, and great to see the Heat playing for a championship two years in a row. May the refs call a good, fair game and not effect the outcome. And may the conspiracy theorists eat sh-t!

  7. lunasceiling - Jun 10, 2012 at 10:37 AM

    No one who really knows basketball could have failed to appreciate how important Bosh is to the Heat’s success, or how much better they are when he’s available. But he’s going to have to continue to play at the level we saw in the ECF game 7 for the Heat to have a chance against OKC.

    • md23rewlz - Jun 10, 2012 at 12:52 PM

      Yes, this notion that anybody who says they “saw this coming” is a “liar” is a joke. Bosh has thrown up these kinds of games plenty of times. The only questions coming in were whether he was healthy enough, and whether rust would be a factor. Outside of that, this was pretty easy to see coming (though the threes were an added bonus for him). Overload on LeBron and Wade, Bosh open man. He has always been that release valve. For whatever reason, people just seem to shrug off Bosh. If any of the Celtic “big three” (God, I hate that nickname–sportswriters can’t do better than that?) were injured, you know it would be NEWS NEWS NEWS and when Boston lost, that injury would be trumpeted from the mountaintops and given to show how Boston was a “gritty team that fought through adversity and came up just short.” Bosh gets injured, and people just sort of expect Miami to be fine. Guess that’s a credit to just how great LeBron/Wade are that they cast such a big shadow.

  8. gostlcards5 - Jun 10, 2012 at 7:10 PM

    Agreed….I love watching Bosh play. After the initial Heat pep rally, he has always been treated like the “and-1”. The Heat’s “Big 3” was really LBJ and Wade with Bosh just kind of thrown in. It often looks to me like this team could succeed with either Lebron or Wade with Bosh, which frankly, would be very similar to MJ-Pippen. Add good role players, and you have everything you need, IMO.

    Additionally, Bosh seems to be a good guy, humble and intelligent rather than a “look-at-me and how fantastic I am” player and person…really, the anti-Lebron and DWade (again, IMO). He will be the one player I am sure to be happy for if Miami wins.

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