NBA Playoffs 2012: Why Didn't Chris Bosh Play More in Game 5?

Amit BatraCorrespondent IIIJune 6, 2012

MIAMI, FL - JUNE 05:  Chris Bosh #1 of the Miami Heat talks with head coach Doc Rivers (L) of the Boston Celtics prior to entering the game in the first quarter of Game Five of the Eastern Conference Finals in the 2012 NBA Playoffs on June 5, 2012 at American Airlines 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 J. Meric/Getty Images)
J. Meric/Getty Images

Chris Bosh made his return in Game 5 of the Miami Heat-Boston Celtics NBA playoff series. Immediately, he was able to make an impact with just offensive rebounding and his presence alone. 

Bosh was able to get nine points in the first half and he lifted the Heat crowd. And boy, that crowd was not alive for a lot of the night. Nonetheless, Bosh was able to provide a solid contribution.

My question is, why he didn't he play more than 14 minutes?  Heat coach Erik Spoelstra was a bit hesitant in allowing Bosh to play in the late stages of the game. 

Isn't it Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals, though?  There's no time to be hesitant in such a high-pressure game. The Heat needed a spark, and Bosh could have been the guy to give them one.  The Celtics were able to win, and have the opportunity to head to the NBA Finals with a win in Boston on Thursday.

With Bosh in, the Heat were able to get a double-digit lead. When the Heat were struggling for baskets, Bosh could have been the guy to give them a boost. Yes, he could be rusty after coming off an injury, but that's a chance Spoelstra should have taken. 

Boston's Kevin Garnett torched the Heat off of some dazzling passes from Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo. It's a tough cover for anyone, but Bosh could have given the Hall-of-Fame-caliber Garnett some trouble.

In 14 minutes of play, Bosh was able to provide the Heat with nine points and seven rebounds, six of those being offensive boards—an area where the Heat have had problems.

He also went 3-for-3 from the free-throw line. It's no surprise that the Heat have had free-throw shooting woes lately. 

He missed nine playoff games going into Game 5, but Bosh has been saying he's ready to play. If he's good to go, give him a chance. 

After all, Bosh is a big part of the pick-and-roll offense. No other Miami big man has the post-up abilities of Bosh either.

Most importantly, the Heat need another scoring option. LeBron James and Dwyane Wade didn't have a combined 60 points, which should be a given if they want to win. Mario Chalmers is a guy who can put up solid numbers offensively, but he only had nine points.

It's understandable to limit Bosh from injury. Spoelstra and Heat fans do not want to see him re-aggravate anything, but he played very limited minutes in the second half. He should have gotten time in the fourth quarter. 

Rust is expected, but Bosh is an All-Star caliber player. It's pressure time in South Beach, and Bosh could have been a sigh of relief. 

The Heat had trouble with free throws, covering perimeter guys and finding a will to win. Watching the game, you can see how lackluster the guys were just to get down the court.  The Heat were just not mentally strong. 

It'll be interesting to see how many minutes Bosh gets in Game 6 in Boston. It's no time to be hesitant. This is Miami's season. 

After all, it is win or go home.