Celtics keyed in on Chris Bosh


Celtics keyed in on Chris Bosh

By Rich Levine

WALTHAM Sometime over the course of this season, Miamis Big 3 morphed into the Big 2. Sure, they were still the Big 3 by name, but it became obvious to everyone in the league that Chris Bosh just wasnt at the same level as his more accomplished superstar teammates.

As the Heat struggled out of the gate, Bosh suffered publicly for his inability to live up to those lofty expectations, until at one point, everyone just stopped expecting him to be LeBron or Wade. The bar was lowered. And Chris Bosh was just allowed to be Chris Bosh.

Now, according to the Celtics, the other one might be the key to this second-round series.

Hes one of the key guys, Doc Rivers said. LeBron and Wade are LeBron and Wade. They were great before the series. Theyre going to be great after the series. LeBron and Wade are great players.

But when Bosh plays great then their team is great. He stretches the floor and theyve done a better job in the second half of getting him more involved. Hes part of their offense now. When hes played well, theyve won. When hes struggled theyve lost. Hes such a tough guy to guard.

Wade echoed similar sentiments about Bosh to reporters following the Heat's practice on Friday.

"He is an X-factor," Wade said. "A lot of our key wins, he's been a huge part of it."

Kevin Garnetts the guy whose responsibility it is to guard Bosh.

First off just knowing he can score in different ways, you just like to keep a couple different options away from him, Garnett said. I think for Baby and myself and all the guys who played Amare Stoudemire in the first round, it was sort of a good series to warm us up for (Boshs) play. He can score in different ways and they get the ball to him, so we have our work cut out for us.

When Bosh plays well, they blow teams out. Its not even close.

Rich Levine can be reached at rlevine@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrlevine33.

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Celtics-Sixers preview: Road has been kind to C's lately

Celtics-Sixers preview: Road has been kind to C's lately

BOSTON – For most teams in the NBA, road games are a necessary evil. 
Not for the Celtics. At least, not lately.
The Green Team hits the road for its next three games, and that has been a good thing – a real good thing – lately. 
Boston (11-8) has won its last four road games, the kind of success that breeds a heightened level of confidence heading into this current trip which begins tonight at Philadelphia. 
And it only helps that they hit the road coming off a 97-92 win over Sacramento on Friday. 
“We have to carry that momentum with us,” said Boston’s Jae Crowder. “You know how...anytime in this league, the momentum, you have to stay with it. We’ve been having success away from home. It was big for us to get this win (over the Kings) to start the road trip off.”
A big part of Friday’s victory was the play of Al Horford who finished with 26 points, eight rebounds, and six blocked shots. The points and rebounds for Horford were both season-highs.
Horford’s breakout performance came on the heels of a 121-114 loss to Detroit, a game in which Boston’s $113 million man (Horford) only took five shots.
“Coach [Brad Stevens] didn’t say anything about going to him just specifically,” said Boston’s Isaiah Thomas. “We just found him and made the right play and when he got it he was very aggressive.” 
Part of Horford’s success was that he was in more of an attacking mentality. But he also benefited from a Kings defense that didn’t double-team him nearly as much as the Pistons did. 
“I got a lot of early looks in the game and like I said [following the Pistons loss] I think the Pistons did a good job defending and doubling and forcing me to pass the ball. [Friday night] I had more opportunities to be aggressive.”
Facing a Sixers team that ranks among the NBA’s worst in several defensive categories, Horford and the rest of his Celtics teammates should have ample opportunities to make plays offensively. 
And in doing so, they will be able to add on to what has been an already impressive stretch of play this season away from home.
“I think it will be good,” Horford said. “[Tonight] it’s a Philly team that plays hard and we just want to keep building on [Friday night’s win over Sacramento] and just try to be better.”