The Miami Heat did what they were supposed to do against the San Antonio Spurs, which was take advantage of a team on the downslide. The roles may have been mistaken due to Miami’s three-game losing streak going into the meeting, but after the first half things were broadly apparent.
LeBron James took hold of the team and Mike Miller’s 6-of-6 shooting from behind the three-point line sealed the deal for a 120-98 South Beach statement win over a Spurs’ franchise that hasn’t been true contenders for several seasons.
They made it into the playoffs last year with one of the best records in the league and the best in the Western Conference. However, nothing about the regular season matters in the postseason besides the seeding.
When the NBA playoffs begin, nothing that happened in the regular season matters. The Dallas Mavericks struggled without Caron Butler in the regular season and had bouts without Dirk Nowitzki shooting those clutch jumpers.
But, who ultimately won the NBA championship?
One thing was noticeable against the Spurs that may worry Miami fans deeper into the season. Without one of the Big 2, Miami seems as if it is in better shape than when both of them are healthy and on the floor.
Dwyane Wade is dealing with a slew of injuries, the latest centered around his 30th birthday, and there is no real timetable for his return. This automatically puts fans in the field of LeBron emerging and rededicating himself to the game as he did with the Cleveland Cavaliers, but it would be a grievous mistake to think that way.
Wade won't sit out for too much longer, especially with a game against Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers coming up, and there are more ways for James to get involved than there were in Cleveland. So although LeBron will be the first option with Wade on the sidelines, there are a plethora of other jump-shooters, paint performers and offensive facilitators for him to play off.
Did you see Tuesday night’s game?
Mike Miller stepped up in his return in a major way, one that seemed necessary to put those amnesty clause nightmares to rest. There was also a famed sight to see on Miami’s bench that fans are not usually treated to.
Both LeBron and Wade were standing beside one another, arms raised and shouting positive obscenities toward overlooked Heat star Chris Bosh as he came down from a spin-move dunk over multiple San Antonio defenders.
As undervalued as Bosh understands he is, he still holds to power to have those monumental moments in a game to remind everyone watching exactly why Wade and James feel privileged to play beside him. Although those two have manufactured the heart of the franchise, Bosh has an integral part in allowing them to stay afloat. LeBron struggled early on before catching fire in the third quarter. Before those minutes, who was the Heat’s first option of offense?
The question comes forth, “Should Chris Bosh be allotted more touches in a game than he already is?”
It has come to be something like a proven fact, or at least something analysts consider common knowledge, that when Bosh has a killer game, the Miami Heat succeed. Surely if you reach back into the short history of the trio on a single squad, you will find several games where his performance merited nothing but a moral victory.
But, there is another statistic that supports Bosh’s consistent shooting.
Every single game in which Bosh shoots at least 20 shots, the Miami Heat have come out victorious. Is it simply coincidental? Maybe. You can build the argument that the only reason Bosh shoots that much is because Miami is already on the up and up.
But, after Tuesday night’s game, in which Bosh scored 30 points on 14-of-22 shooting, it was made painfully obvious that his deepened involvement in the offense is one of the many facets of Miami’s makeup that gives it such an illustrious sense.
He is a huge part of this team and it is time for sets to be drawn up that operate through him as well, instead of just looking at the team as if they only have two sure-fire scorers.
The Miami Heat have no excuse from this point on. Coach Erik Spoelstra has no ammo going into a post-game press conference after a Miami Heat loss to anyone other than the Black Mamba, the OKC Thunder, the Chicago Bulls or the Dallas Mavericks.
Those are the only franchises that could make a case for victory over Miami. But, the only thing standing in Miami’s way is its lack of acknowledgment of Bosh’s worth to the team until one of the more popular fractions of the brand go down.
Chris Bosh is the most valuable unmentionable in the league. Somehow he has managed to remain a secret and Coach Spo needs to begin using that to his advantage. What’s the worst that could happen?
Maybe a 22-point win over a legendary Western Conference franchise?
Follow Joye on Twitter @JoyeTheWar