The reaction to Chris Bosh‘s spectacular game four performance against the Celtics was one of utter disbelief. Folks were shocked that Bosh was able to come up with a big time game in such an important game. While I myself was a bit surprised that Bosh was able to prevent Kevin Garnett from being anywhere close to effective while hitting some extremely tough shots in the fourth quarter against a tough Boston defense, I knew that he was capable of doing those things. The only reason it surprised me was because Bosh had seemed extremely tentative in game three and even admitted to being overwhelmed by the Boston crowd. That being said, I never questioned Bosh’s talent or capabilities on the basketball court; rather, I was suspicious of his mindset and whether or not he wanted to be aggressive in a game of this magnitude on the road.
After Bosh’s six-point, five rebounds performance in game three, I drew some comparisons between he and Pau Gasol. Bosh had struggled a bit in the first three games of the series at that point, Gasol, well, he ended the Laker dynasty on Sunday and both seemed to be unsure of themselves mentally which was taking a toll on their play. But if Gasol had gone out in game four of the Lakers-Mavs series and went for 20 and 12 and helped the Lakers capture a victory, people would have said “Finally, Pau’s back.” Of course, Pau didn’t do that, adding to the never ending mystery of why he was so awful this post-season. But when Bosh did have that kind of game, going for 20 and 12 in game four, including eight huge points in the fourth quarter and overtime, people said “Are you kidding me? That’s Chris Bosh!” sort of like they did after game one when James Jones had 25 points.
I guess that expectations for Bosh have been lowered because of the caliber of his two teammates while Gasol’s expectations are higher not only because he was the second best player on his team but also because he plays for the Lakers and there’s always going to be more expected of the champions. What those who have lowered their expectations for Bosh fail to realize is that Bosh is an all-star. And I’m not just saying he was an all-star when he played for the Raptors, Bosh was actually named an all-star this season as a member of the Heat. Obviously we shouldn’t be expecting Bosh to put up the same kinds of scoring numbers that he did in Toronto because he’s sharing possessions with two of the best three players in the league, but effective and consistent contributions from Bosh should not be surprising whatsoever.
Those who have paid close attention to the Heat this season know that Bosh is the most important player within the offense because of how well he operates 18-feet from the basket. His screen setting ability and agile frame make him such a deadly pick and pop player and not only with his shot; Bosh is also a very willing and good passer out of the high post. Bosh has also improved his defense a ton this season, which is a storyline that seems to have gotten no play this season even though Bosh was constantly lambasted for his defense when the Heat signed him this off-season. Bosh is second only to LeBron James on his team for defensive net rating. When Bosh is off the floor the Heat give up 4.21 points more per 100 possessions than when he is on the floor (James has a 4.51 net rating). And even though it was just a couple of weeks ago, everyone has seemingly forgotten that Bosh was actually the Heat’s best player in their first round series against the Philadelphia 76ers – he averaged 20 and 9 – but because it was against the Sixers I guess his play didn’t make an impact on casual fans.
Chris Bosh averaged 19 points and eight rebounds per game with the Heat this season. He is career 20 and nine guy. His involvement in the Heat offense is key in making Miami a versatile team rather and allows for Miami to stray away from isolation sets as much as possible. Bosh has also improved his defense greatly and his mobility on the perimeter is one of the big reasons Miami rotates so well around the floor. Bosh may have his down moments for the Heat and he’ll likely receive a lot of scrutiny any time he make s a play that showcases him as “soft” but the truth is that Chris Bosh is an all-star, he’s one of the better big men in the league he is an interval part in Miami’s gameplan.
So next time he gets a tip-in over the arms of Jeff Green or finishes off a dunk over Kevin Garnett, don’t act like Bosh isn’t capable of doing those things on a normal basis.