The story coming into Game 7 of the 2012 Eastern Conference Finals was LeBron James’ amazing Game 6 masterpiece. His “arrival” was perfectly timed at a moment in the series when the Miami Heat were poised to fail in the face of determination, experience and championship basketball.
It was a game in which there was a whirlwind of attention circling LeBron and question marks waiting for Chris Bosh as he came off of the bench to contribute single-digit scoring.
How important would he be to the MIA-BOS Game 7 in Miami?
Chris Bosh answered those questions with a 19-point game that included 3-of-4 three pointers during pivotal moments in the game. Unlike James, however, Bosh had to be paying attention to what Oklahoma City was doing in the Western Conference, leading up to a conference championship after knocking the Spurs out in a 4-2 series.
Both Conference Finals basically mirrored each other until Game 6, in which Oklahoma City closed San Antonio out and LeBron extended the ECF. Bosh had to have paid attention to everything Serge Ibaka, Kendrick Perkins and even Nick Collison were doing for the Thunder.
He would not be human if he had not. He was on his couch for most of the Eastern Conference Finals so what other choice did he have? Bosh surely watched what was happening with his own franchise as well as an emerging dynasty out west that he more than likely would have to face in the 2012 NBA Finals.
So, what did Bosh do?
Bosh got comfortable. He stretched his legs in the American Airlines Arena and prepared himself for an NBA Finals series that would draw incredible attention. Bosh is ready to reclaim what Miami Heat so devastatingly lost last season.
Make no bones about it. Falling to his knees in tears is not an option for him this year.
In the 2011 NBA Finals, Bosh’s production was fairly acceptable. He did what most fans expected him to do. Bosh got on the floor, averaged almost 20 on the series, pulled down his fair share of rebounds against Tyson Chandler and left everything else up to Batman and Robin.
Bosh even guarded Dirk Nowitzki on multiple occasions. It was a screwball matchup, but he tried. At the end of the day, his effort was not enough.
The Big 3, formed just a summer earlier, failed after a tumultuous season and were sent back to the drawing board faced with an array of questions that they were, quite frankly, not braced to deal with.
Wade already has a ring. LeBron’s Game 6 postgame interview spoke volumes. Bosh cried.
This season he has a chance to prove himself again and the chips seem to be stacked higher than ever. Yet, Bosh’s personality is not shaken. His mental toughness has rarely been questioned and when he has the chance, he takes care of business.
This is the exact mindset the Miami Heat needs from him to overpower the amazingly athletic, score-heavy Oklahoma City team.
Battling Kevin Garnett around the rim for position set him up perfectly to bang bodies with Serge Ibaka. Kendrick Perkins is a totally different story and Bosh has not had the most effective games, offensively, against the Thunder this season.
Still, there is a look in his eye. Not so much the possessed stare LeBron gave off in Game 6 that cleared paths. It’s a look of redemption.
Bosh’s ability to the hit the three against the Boston Celtics spaced the floor for Miami. He was strong on the boards and efficient from the field. Bosh scored 19 points and did not make a single trip to the line.
Don’t expect that from the Thunder, who are much-less disciplined defensively than the Boston Celtics. That’s not a knock on Oklahoma City, a team well-geared to win their first championship. Still, they’re no Boston, defensively.
Zero trips to the line, but 19 points.
Bosh was not willing to let the opportunity slip through his fingers. Everyone knows what LeBron James and Dwyane Wade can do.
Chris Bosh is walking in with a chip on his shoulder and time missed to prove his worth to the franchise. His time is now and there is no way around it. He has never been punched with the notion that he would freeze in a big moment or shy away from being great, because he never has.
Oklahoma City is a different monster than Boston. Yet, they represent the last roadblock to a menacing goal. It’s a goal that holds a promise that he plans on being a part of.