Bosh shrugs off Game 1 criticism

Bosh shrugs off Game 1 criticism
June 7, 2013, 6:30 pm
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MIAMI — The Miami Heat pride themselves on fostering a family-like atmosphere.

If that's the case, 29-year-old Chris Bosh is the quintessential middle child who doesn't get nearly as much love as the "baby," 28-year-old LeBron James or the clan's "big brother," 31-year-old Dwyane Wade.

However Bosh certainly got his share of attention - and to a lesser degree, blame - following Miami's 92-88 Game 1 loss to San Antonio on Thursday.

Bosh had 13 points on 6-for-16 shooting along with five rebounds and three steals.

Despite being Miami's starting center, the 6-foot-11 Bosh spent more time further away from the basket relying on his perimeter shooting, instead of looking to produce around the basket.

Of his six made baskets, only one was a lay-up.

The other five were a 15-foot jumper along with a pair of 18- and 19-foot jumpers.

Bosh was especially criticized for his 3-point miss late in the fourth quarter when the Heat was trailing by four points.

"Look, we're not going to overreact to those misses," said Miami coach Erik Spoelstra. "He was wide open. He has been making some. He's hit some big ones already."

During Miami's series-clinching win over Boston in the Eastern Conference finals Game 7 last season, it was Bosh's ability to knock down big shot after big shot that ultimately catapulted Miami to the franchise's second NBA title. He would finish that game with 19 points on 8-for-10 shooting along with eight rebounds.

This playoff season, he's shooting 44.9 percent from the field and just under 43 percent on 3s.

But for too many stretches to count recently, Bosh's shooting touch has been downright terrible.

In Miami's last five games, Bosh has shot just 28 percent (14-for-50) from the field.

Well aware of his shooting struggles, Bosh doesn't appear to be overly concerned.

"It's a part of sports," he said. "You really don't have time to think about it. I have confidence in myself and my teammates have confidence in me, and every shot that I shoot I expect it to go in. Some do and some don't."

Spurs coach Gregg Popovich was quick to pump the brakes on any talk of San Antonio limiting Bosh's effectiveness.

"I don't think we contained Chris Bosh," Popovich said. "He had some open shots he didn't make. (Spurs forward) Kawhi Leonard had some open shots he didn't make. So the labels don't really work for me. It's a matter of both. Sometimes shorts are just missed and sometimes they are contested and the defense gets credit."

Bosh's impact has also been hurt by the fact that Miami doesn't look to take advantage of one of Bosh's strengths which has been his ability to score both inside the paint as well as from the perimeter.

Lately, he has looked more and more like a one-dimensional player who could only have an impact on the game if he's making shots.

Spoelstra said Miami will look for more ways to get Bosh going in Game 2.

"He's been our most important player," Spoelstra said. "We still run much of our offense through him. We need to get him in areas he can be aggressive and get paint catches. That will be one of the bigger areas of focus I'll have in the next two days."

But doing so will continue to be difficult because the Spurs are intent on taking the paint area away from LeBron James on drives to the basket which leaves him little choice but to look for his teammates to knock down jumpers.

Regardless, James doesn't believe that will be too difficult just as long as the "middle kid" - Bosh - wants to make it happen.

"If he accepts the challenge to want to put pressure in the paint, he'll have it," James said. "Mostly our offense goes through Chris, either in the elbow action or we run situations where D-Wade will come off a flare and CB's man will drop and help, and CB gets that action where he catches the ball at the elbow.

James added, "wherever CB demands the ball in the post, we'll give it to him. We love when CB comes out because we know he's being aggressive. We need that paint attack from him."