NBA Playoffs 2013: Players Who Must Drastically Step Up Their Efforts in Game 7

Rob GoldbergFeatured ColumnistJune 2, 2013

Jun 19, 2012; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Heat shooting guard Dwyane Wade (3) and power forward Chris Bosh (1) react during the fourth quarter against the Oklahoma City Thunder in game four in the 2012 NBA Finals at the American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Heat and Indiana Pacers have turned a seven-game series into a winner-take-all Game 7. This is where everyone will need to be at their best.

Of course, players like LeBron James and Paul George will be judged the most when this matchup comes to an end, but the two of them have been playing well all series. However, there are a number of players who have struggled in recent games and have been holding their teams back.

The stars have the ability to perform much better than they are, but to this point have not gotten the production that their team needs. Raising their level of play will go a long way toward winning the Eastern Conference Finals.


Chris Bosh, Heat

All season long, Chris Bosh has been playing a little out of position at center as the Heat utilize a smaller lineup. He is better suited as a power forward, but he still managed to average 16.6 points and 6.6 rebounds this season.

In recent games, the All-Star looks nothing like his former self.

Roy Hibbert and others have completely taken Bosh out of this series. In the last three games, he totaled 19 points and 12 rebounds. Hibbert came close to matching that total in Game 6 alone with 24 points and 11 rebounds. 

While Bosh is apparently playing with an ankle injury, he is still on the floor for over 30 minutes in each of these games. The problem is that he does not seem to be helping too much.

Last game, Miami attempted to help him out with a bigger lineup that included a lot of play from Udonis Haslem and Joel Anthony. The end result was a 1-for-8 day from the floor.

Bosh needs to play better in Game 7, otherwise he could be on his way out the door this summer.


David West, Pacers

The good news is that David West was dominant on the glass in Game 6 and finished with 14 rebounds. On the negative side, he finished with only 11 points.

West and Hibbert have a huge advantage in this series in the frontcourt against the undersized Heat. To this point, it is the 7'2" center who has stepped up his game instead of the experienced power forward.

While West has not played poorly in any matchup, he has clearly been passed in the pecking order by Hibbert and Paul George. This becomes a problem when the Pacers get too reliant on the two players and lose the balance that makes them so strong.

Additionally, West is in his final year of his contract this season. Indiana needs to decide whether it is worth giving him a lot of money instead of saving it for the younger players. Although one game might not change the mindset of people in the front office, a strong performance can certainly leave a lasting image.

The power forward needs to become a major factor in Game 7 to help his squad and his own future.


Dwyane Wade, Heat

There is no question that Dwyane Wade has played hurt for the past few weeks. However, that is no reason to continue this inefficient play.

Few people expected the guard to put up the 21.2 points per game that he averaged in the regular season. LeBron James has started taking over games, and it would be surprising if anyone else was able to top 20 points, even the one-time NBA Finals MVP.

Still, Wade can still help his team on both ends of the court. He is playing solid on-ball defense, but he needs to contribute on offense as well.

In the past three games, the guard has only made 32.4 percent of his shots from the floor. To make things worse, he is averaging over 11 attempts per game in that time. If he cannot make these shots, it almost does not make sense to keep giving him the ball.

Wade is one of the most talented players in the sport and has the playoff experience to help the Heat win this series. However, he needs a better approach in Game 7; either he starts making his shots or he must stop shooting.


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