Heat forward Chris Bosh offered the simplest of solutions.
It’s a rarity for a must-win game in the regular season, but Bosh sounded like that was the case Wednesday against the Oklahoma City Thunder.
“We need to win,” Bosh said. “Plain and simple.”
A win would erase the poor showing they had in a 103-87 defeat when the teams met March 25 in Oklahoma City.
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“We didn’t play our best basketball last time,” Bosh said. “We had chance after chance to really get back into the game but we never did. We just have to work on our tendencies, take care of the ball and just compete. You never know, you might see that team again in the postseason.”
The Heat hope this potential NBA Finals preview is a repeat of last year’s series against a Western Conference contender. The Heat lost to the San Antonio Spurs on the road by 30, but won the home rematch by the same margin.
“It’s a great opportunity for us to continue to get better and to see how much we want to get better against a really tough team,” forward LeBron James said. “They pretty much beat up on us not too long ago.”
The Thunder are coming off a 94-88 loss at home to the Memphis Grizzlies, meaning the league’s top three teams suffered defeats this week. The Heat lost to the Boston Celtics Sunday while the Chicago Bulls fell to the Houston Rockets on Monday.
“You’re going to lose games,” Bosh said. “That’s a part of it … We all have good records. You lose some games you’re supposed to win. You’re going to win some games you’re supposed to lose. That’s the thing about the NBA.”
Swingman Mike Miller returned to practice, participating in Tuesday’s morning shootaround. Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said it’s the most encouraging sign since Miller sustained a sprained left ankle March 10 against Indiana.
There is still no date on when he is expected back in uniform. Miller has missed the past 12 games.
“He went through about half the shootaround,” Spoelstra said. “He’s making progress.”
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Spoelstra knows where he would be Wednesday if the Heat were off.
He and the players have taken interest in the Miami Marlins opening their new ballpark on the same night. The Marlins begin the season against the World Series champion St. Louis Cardinals. Spoelstra said seeing the christening of the stadium might have been possible if not for the NBA’s hectic schedule because of the lockout-shortened season.
“It’s hard not to hear about the Marlins opening up their stadium,” Spoelstra said. “If we didn’t play the same night … probably quite a few of us would be trying to go to that game. It’s exciting.”
James, a noted New York Yankees fan, also expressed his interest.
“I am a baseball fan,” James said. “I haven’t been actually to the stadium yet, but … hopefully I can get to it some day.”
Congrats to ‘Cats
James made sure to send out a few text messages the moment Kentucky defeated Kansas in Monday’s college basketball national title game.
James has ties to the Wildcats program, including relationships with coach John Calipari and assistant Brandon Weems. James is a childhood friend of Weems, and also formed bonds with players Anthony Davis and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist.
“It was great,” James said. “I support Kentucky. My little brother, Brandon Weems, is on the coaching staff down there. I’ve been keeping up with Michael Kidd-Gilchrist since he was an eighth-grader. … To see them win it, I was happy for them.”
James would have been faced with a dilemma had Ohio State defeated Kansas in the national semifinals, pitting James’ beloved Buckeyes against Kentucky.
“I would’ve been in a win-win situation,” James said. “Let’s just leave it at that.”