An interesting thing has happened in this Miami/Indiana series. No, not just the fact that the Pacers have taken a 2-1 series lead. With that Pacers lead, the public perception of Chris Bosh has shifted.
It's about time.
After the Heat decided to construct their own Big Three when Bosh and LeBron James left their respective teams to join Dwyane Wade, the media hype was incredible. Every step, move, breath that was taken in Miami was documented, detailed and dissected.
When the public needed something to poke fun at and joke about with regard to the Heat, they found their target in Bosh. The affable forward who left the Toronto Raptors for Miami became the go-to punching bag for Heat haters.
Somewhere along the line, Bosh was perceived as soft, and of course, everything else was forgotten. His skill, talent and contribution to the team all become secondary to the image that had been created for him.
It’s tough. Playing alongside James and Wade after seven years in Toronto, he was largely considered to be the third wheel, the one riding coattails. Without him, though, the Heat are struggling and struggling mightily.
Suddenly Bosh doesn’t look like such an expendable piece, does he?
This isn’t a surprise to anyone who watched or covered the Raptors. Bosh is an extremely talented and savvy player. He isn’t as freakishly skilled as James, and he doesn’t have a ring like Wade, but he is a very important part of the makeup of this Heat roster.
The Heat have known that. Bosh himself knows it. It’s why he’s remained silent rather than lashing out at the critics and naysayers.
Against the Pacers, the absence of Bosh allows Roy Hibbert to dominate the glass, be a presence in the lane and also put points on the board. In Game 2, the Heat guards struggled to get any sort of help from their supporting cast. In Game 3, Wade forgot how to play basketball. Without the ever-steady Bosh, the Heat were unable to score against Indiana’s defense.
Looking forward, they’re going to need someone to step up, but who? Will Wade shake things off and have a huge Game 4? Will James also be able to have a huge game?
Without Bosh on the floor and with a supporting cast that looks dead in the water, the Heat will need their Big Two to have huge games. Even if they do, they’ll be missing their big man. You know, the one that everyone called soft.