Miami Heat: Will Chris Bosh Live Up to Expectations in Playoffs After Injury?

Joye Pruitt@joyethewarSenior Analyst IMay 24, 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’s injury has caused him to be absent during a vital time in the 2012 NBA Playoffs, while LeBron James and Dwyane Wade have been left to scramble together grandiose efforts to coat Miami’s lack of depth, especially in the frontcourt.

The Indiana Pacers are loaded with players like Roy Hibbert and David West in their frontcourt to rival any low post activity the Heat are willing to throw their way.

Yet, in both Games 4 and 5, the Pacers have refused to expose this very weakness that would outright beat Miami.

Hibbert went from taking 16 shots in Game 3, scoring 19 points and pulling down 18 rebounds, to barely getting his hands on the ball under the rim with 10 shot attempts in Game 5 and a mere nine in Game 4. Both are games in which the Pacers lost.

Wade and James have almost demolished any concerns of not being able to overcome a strong frontcourt without Chris Bosh on hand by blowing out the Pacers in Game 5, 115-83.

This puts the pressure on both James and Wade to continue to perform at this level, but even more pressure on Bosh’s presence in his return.

If the Miami Heat can look this good with only two of their stars, imagine how magnificent 48 minutes would be from all three.

The expectations for Chris Bosh’s return have been magnified by millions, more than they would have if the Heat were down in the series.

When Wade was scoring five points in an entire game and leaving the offense solely up to LeBron and Mario Chalmers in Game 3, Bosh was labeled Miami’s most valuable player. Anything from him would have been better than what fans were getting from their superstars.

Bosh’s presence without a single point would have been a boost in confidence to Miami fans.

With both Wade and James playing some of the best basketball they have ever played together, the question mark is over Bosh’s head.

When he returns, will he fall into place with James and Wade or will he be an outlier? Will he be on the outside looking in on what the Heat have shape-shifted into?

Wade has been playing amazingly by getting himself into the paint and drawing those fouls that send him to the line and place Pacers’ players on the bench with two or more personal fouls under their belt. He and LeBron are frustrating Indiana because they have no answer for their speed or athleticism.

The Pacers literally have no option when either of those men get in the paint but to foul them and stop the easy bucket. As Wade has proven, that is no sure solution either.

Predicting that the Miami Heat close the series in either Game 6 or Game 7 at home, Chris Bosh will have an opportunity to return to the 2012 NBA Playoffs against either the Boston Celtics or the Philadelphia 76ers.

The Eastern Conference Finals are geared for Bosh to make his comeback. Either he and Kevin Garnett will be aggressively matching up or he will be battling the likes of Elton Brand and Spencer Hawes in the low post.

Both Garnett and Brand have managed to put together exceptional playoff performances and will be perfect matchups to prove whether or not Bosh can just slip back into the groove.

Bosh will be expected to fall right back into the rhythm of things. This is why he was brought into the fold. LeBron James was a given to play beside Wade, but Bosh is that third man that completes the triangle.

For Miami’s sake, he must come back into the offense like he never left, so Miami’s Big 2 can operate under those altered circumstances.