For the first time since sustaining a lower-abdominal strain May 13 in the Miami Heat’s opening game of the second round against the Indiana Pacers, power forward Chris Bosh is back in the starting lineup.
The announcement was made shortly before Thursday night’s opening tip between the Heat and Oklahoma City Thunder in Game 2 of the NBA Finals at Chesapeake Energy Arena.
Bosh, who missed three weeks with the injury, had played the previous four games off the bench in his return, going 14, 28 and 31 minutes in the final three games of the Eastern Conference finals against the Boston Celtics, and then 34 minutes in Tuesday’s series-opening 105-94 loss to the Thunder.
Bosh replaced Udonis Haslem in the starting lineup, giving the Heat their seventh starting lineup of this postseason. The other starters were Shane Battier, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Mario Chalmers. It is the first time all season, regular season or playoffs, the Heat have utilized that opening five.
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Bosh gave the first hint of his status when he conducted his interviews following the morning shootaround in his red, starter’s practice jersey.
Coach Erik Spoelstra offered a hint of his own after the morning shootaround when he said, “How we use Chris might be a little bit more like how we used him during the regular season.”
Bosh hinted at the shootaround he knew what was coming.
“If coach wants to put me out there, I’m more than available,” he said. “I’ve started a bunch of games in this league. I’m ready to go.”
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