In the past, there was always an early effort to get Chris Bosh involved in games.
Now, LeBron James and Dwyane Wade are looking at no longer having to do that as the one bonus of Bosh possibly being sidelined the remainder of the series against the Indiana Pacers. Bosh will not play in Tuesday’s Game 2 of the Eastern Conference semifinals because of strained lower abdominal muscle.
“When Chris is out, obviously, me and LeBron are a lot more aggressive at the same time,” Wade said. “It’s a little different when Chris is in. That could be a good thing as well.”
The aggressive approach worked in the Heat’s victory in Game 1. After Bosh left late in the second quarter, James and Wade took control. The duo at one point scored 20 straight points in the second half.
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Bosh is often considered the most key component on the roster, but James and Wade say they have grown more comfortable playing without him. The Heat went 4-5 during the regular season in games Bosh did not play.
“It’s all about comfort,” James said. “Your teammates get comfortable, too. It’s never a situation where you want to have a guy out and guys have to step up and change their role and be more aggressive, but you have to have that in your back pocket.”
Heat coach Erik Spoelstra has yet to say who will replace Bosh in the starting lineup. He will announce his decision during pre-game interviews. It will most likely be center Ronny Turiaf, who started the second half in Game 1.
“This is the playoffs,” Spoelstra said. “We don’t have a lot of time to tinker … Nothing is set in stone. We’ll use our versatility where we think it’ll pose the most problems.”
Although he won’t start there, the Heat also plan to use James some at power forward. James said he is up for the challenge, even saying it provides more opportunities to play in transition.
“It helps at times because I’m able to be down there and get more rebounds and I can start the (fast) break,” James said. “But it’s definitely more taxing, more tiring at times.”