Miami Heat: Has LeBron's Streak Inspired Chris Bosh?

Joshua J Vannuccini@@jjvannucciniSenior Analyst IIIFebruary 16, 2013

PHOENIX, AZ - NOVEMBER 17:  Chris Bosh #1 of the Miami Heat blocks out Jermaine O'Neal #20 of the Phoenix Suns during the NBA game at US Airways Center on November 17, 2012 in Phoenix, Arizona.  The Heat defeated the Suns 97-88. 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 Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The news around the league has been LeBron James' record streak of scoring. He's had 30 points or more in seven straight, and in 11 of his last 15 games. He's made his mark in NBA history as well, becoming the first player to score at least 30 points on 60 percent or better in six straight.

A case could be made that James' play has inspired this teammates. Alternatively, the Heat could merely be contributing at a higher level as the defensive pressure on James has increased. Whether you point to Shane Battier's 50 percent shooting from three-point range or Dwyane Wade's usual all-around dominance, the entire team has raised their production in the last month. Chris Bosh has done the same, yet extremely quietly.

Bosh is having a terrific third year with the Heat, averaging 17.7 points and 7.4 rebounds per game. His offensive production is off the charts, shooting 55.5 percent from the field. In addition, Bosh's 52.7 clip from mid-range is driving defenses mental, as it becomes a "pick your poison" situation, allowing either a James/Wade drive or a Bosh jumper, with both an assured two points.

His so-so average of 7.4 rebounds per contest may infuriate some, yet is a slightly overstated issue with his game. It remains a concern, however, as Bosh is the Heat's central contributor in the paint. Bosh has remained effective despite this, yet has shown an increased interest in crashing the glass.

Since missing two games with the flu, Bosh has returned to action and ratted off three straight double-doubles. He has registered just 14 of them in 47 games this season, so to see double-digit rebounds for Bosh in the box score is a sight for sore eyes.

Whether or not it is related to James' historic play or a more concentrated approach to rebounding, Bosh has been a catalyst in Miami's last three wins. The victories have come against Oklahoma City, Portland and the LA Lakers, which indicates just how well Bosh is playing on the boards.

The aforementioned trio of teams may not be the league's best in rebounding, specifically the former two, as the latter is currently fourth in rebounds per game. However, each team has a strong front line in terms of keeping players of the boards.

Dwight Howard, LaMarcus Aldridge and Serge Ibaka are all elite at their positions, so to see Bosh snatch 11, 11 and 12 rebounds against each, respectively, points to his focus. It would be an understatement to say it's something the Heat desperately need, as they currently rank last in rebounding.

As previously noted, Bosh's effectiveness on the glass may very well be a side-effect on James' play. While the notion that the 6'11" forward/center has more confidence as LeBron does could be a stretch, it remains a possibility. One could also make an argument that James is drawing more attention, thereby giving Bosh the freedom to crash the boards with less defense in the paint. 

Miami isn't playing the best defense in these last three wins, allowing an average of 100.3 points on 49 percent shooting. Depicting a scenario that the Heat have forced more misses, thereby making the number of rebounds available increased could be made, however the previously listed statistics would make such an argument invalid.

Whichever way you perceive it, the fact remains that Bosh is making his mark on the boards. Whether or not this continues throughout the season remains to be seen, however it is certainly something that would be encouraged by most.

All statistics sourced from stats and