Heat vs Pacers Game 7: Chris Bosh Needs to Prove His Worth in Deciding Clash

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Heat vs Pacers Game 7: Chris Bosh Needs to Prove His Worth in Deciding Clash
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Chris Bosh has been a bit of a pinata during his time with the Miami Heat.

In his first season with LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, he was barely even noticed. In fact, "Big Three" became "Big Two" or "Big 2.5," as he was prodded with regularity from fans and the media.

Bosh appeared to escape at least some of the torment last season, when he averaged 18.0 points and 7.9 rebounds in Miami's championship campaign. He was never going to completely escape the joking at his expense, but people seemed to realize that he had a hand in the Heat's run to the title.

Well, Bosh's critics are louder than ever now. 

And for good reason. In six games against the Indiana Pacers in the Eastern Conference finals, he is averaging—wait for it—3.7 rebounds. That's right, a man who is 6'11" is averaging 3.7 boards.

But there's more. Since Game 3, Bosh has averaged 6.3 points while going a combined 5-of-21 from the floor. The Heat have lost two of those three games. To say he's been manhandled by the Pacers' duo of Roy Hibbert and David West would be an understatement.

Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

Bosh's supporters (the few in the world that there are at this point) would probably say that Hibbert is 280 pounds, West is 250 pounds and Bosh is 235 pounds. That's probably the best argument for Bosh you are going to hear. He's a natural power forward, which makes the matchup against Hibbert particularly challenging.

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But let's be honest, surely he can do better than 3.7 rebounds per game. That's frankly atrocious for a big man.

And that doesn't excuse his troubles from the field. His quickness and mid-range game should actually give him an advantage on the offensive end. But he's gone an atrocious 0-of-9 from mid-range in the last three games, via NBA.com.

Bosh showed that he can be a major factor on offense for Miami in Games 1 and 3. He shot a combined 12-of-21 from the floor in those games. The Heat won both contests, including one in Indiana.

Bosh has to bring it on the offensive side of the ball, if nothing else. It's the least he can do to help out LeBron.

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