2012 NBA Playoffs: Miami Heat's Title Chances Without Chris Bosh

Jake WestrichSenior Writer IMay 15, 2012

MIAMI, FL - MAY 13: Forward Chris Bosh #1 of the Miami Heat warms up prior to playing against the  Indiana Pacers in Game One of the Eastern Conference Semifinals in the 2012 NBA Playoffs on May 13, 2012 at the American Airines Arena in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images)
Marc Serota/Getty Images

Chris Bosh has been somewhat of a third wheel for the Miami Heat ever since his signing in the summer of 2010. Though he's been more than adequate during a two-year tenure (18.4 points, 8.1 rebounds), it's hard for Bosh to shine next to the star power of LeBron James and Dwyane Wade. Now the Heat may be forced to find out just how important Bosh is to their title hopes.

Bosh landed awkwardly in the second quarter of Sunday's win over the Indiana Pacers and did not return. An MRI determined the Heat power forward has a strained abdominal muscle and he's been ruled out indefinitely. Whether "indefinitely" means a few days or a few weeks remains to be seen. In the meantime, Miami will need to adjust to life without Bosh.

Using our NBA simulation engine, we removed Bosh from the roster and "played" the Heat 1,001 times against their probable opponents on their road to the Finals. His absence will likely result in more minutes at power forward for James and Udonis Haslem, while Shane Battier and Mike Miller share more time at small forward.

Heat vs. Pacers without Bosh
Matchup Win% Avg Score
Indiana Pacers 30.5 92.2
vs Miami Heat 69.5 97.7

Even without Bosh's services, the Heat have enough firepower to advance out of the Eastern Conference. As demonstrated in the first game of the series, the duo of James and Wade is more than the Pacers can handle. With a healthy Bosh, the Heat beat the Pacers 67.9 percent of the time. Without Bosh, their odds actually improve to 69.5 percent.

After dismissing the Pacers, Miami will face either the Boston Celtics or the Philadelphia 76ers. The shorthanded Heat are favored against both.

Heat vs. Celtics without Bosh
Matchup Win% Avg Score
Boston Celtics 22.5 88.3
vs Miami Heat 77.5 96.5


Heat vs. 76ers without Bosh
Matchup Win% Avg Score
Philadelphia 76ers 31.5 88.4
vs Miami Heat 68.5 94.0

A Finals matchup will likely pit the Heat against the San Antonio Spurs or the Oklahoma City Thunder. Although our 2012 NBA Playoff Preview gave the Spurs the greatest odds to win the NBA title, our engine actually favors a healthy Heat squad by the slimmest of margins (50.8 percent) in a head-to-head simulation. However, without Bosh's services, the Spurs win 65.7 percent of simulations.

With Bosh, the Heat are also favored against the Thunder, winning 54.5 percent of simulations. Without Bosh, the Thunder edge out the Heat 64.0 percent of the time. It would seem that the Heat's title hopes rest on the return of a healthy Bosh.

Heat vs. Spurs without Bosh
Matchup Win% Avg Score
San Antonio Spurs 65.7 101.2
vs Miami Heat 35.3 95.9


Heat vs. Thunder without Bosh
Matchup Win% Avg Score
Oklahoma City Thunder 64.0 97.2
vs Miami Heat 36.0 91.9