Chris Bosh is still a game-time decision for Game 5 against the Boston Celtics, but the Miami Heat need their star big man.
Not only will Bosh give the Heat a much-needed scoring presence down low, but he's important simply because he gives them another big body against the bruising Celtics.
It's possible, but it just doesn't happen every game, as evidenced in Game 3 and 4 against the C's. So while Bosh isn't essential, he's still needed.
Here's a look why.
Bosh is the butt of many "Big Three" jokes, but he is a big-time contributor on the offensive end. During the regular season, the eight-year veteran averaged 18 points per game on 49 percent shooting.
He's not as dangerous in the post as some big men, but he's a force knocking down mid-range jumpers and running the pick-and-roll, which has been a popular weapon for many successful teams in the playoffs this year.
With the Heat being forced to turn to the offensively inadequate Udonis Haslem and Joel Anthony as alternative big men, they haven't really been able to run the pick-and-roll, unless it's with Wade and LeBron.
Adding Bosh to the lineup lets them run the pick-and-pop, which is incredibly hard to defend. His presence gives the Heat a whole new dimension on the offensive end.
When it comes down to it, however, the Heat's struggles haven't come on the offensive end.
During this series, Miami has actually been fine on offense, averaging 104.5 points per 100 possessions. That's barely below their season average of 105.4.
On defense, though, the Heat are letting the Celtics score 104.3 points per 100 possessions, which is dangerously worse than the 96.7 they gave up during the regular season.
Against a Celtics squad that is supposed to rely on its defense, the Heat are getting run over when Boston has the ball. That's not good.
Part of that problem has been Kevin Garnett, who is averaging 20.5 points (compared to 19.5 in the postseason) and 2.8 offensive rebounds (compared to 1.5) against the Heat.
He's getting pretty much whatever he wants on the offensive side of the ball.
Anthony is a solid defender, but he can't really handle Garnett on the perimeter. Haslem isn't known for his defense, either. After those two, the Heat have been forced to turn to Shane Battier, who is a terrific defender, but doesn't quite have the size to match up with KG.
Adding Bosh to the mix not only gives the Heat a much-needed 6'11" defender who can guard the mid-range game and block a shot per game, but it gives them depth in the frontcourt.
So while the prospect of adding Bosh to the offense is certainly attractive, pay attention to the defensive contributions he makes should he return for Game 5.