For the three games since he returned from a strained abdomen, Chris Bosh has come off the bench — but in Game 7 against Boston he played 31 minutes. Which is basically James Harden/Manu Ginobili sixth man minutes.
So for the finals Game 1, does Bosh go back into the starting lineup? Or is he now he Heat’s sixth man?
Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said he hadn’t made a decision about whether Bosh would start or not. Sure he hasn’t, he just doesn’t want to tip off the Thunder. Here is the exact quote, via Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel.
“I’ll consider everything by [Tuesday] night,” was the limit of what Spoelstra would reveal at Monday’s media day. “I think he can handle more minutes. We’ll have to see. He was able to handle the 31 minutes. He had to come out a couple times because of wind, but I think each game we’ll get better.”
Did you hear the tap dancing music in the background? Spoelstra is moving those feet.
Bosh, he couldn’t really care less.
“If we get off to good starts, hopefully I can come in and really increase the lead, increase the efficiency on the offensive and defensive ends and we can take our play up another notch when I come in,” he said. “It’s been working out and it’s Coach’s call. Whatever he wants to do, I’m with it.”
What matters here is that like the fourth quarter against Boston, you can bet Bosh will be on the floor for the Heat at the key moments. Which is huge. He has to be covered by someone like Serge Ibaka or Kendrick Perkins and he can drag them out all the way to the three-point like because they have to respect his shot. And if Ibaka is out at the arc he’s not in the paint blocking shots.
You’re going to see a lot of Bosh this series. You just may not see him at the opening tip.
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“But that award means most valuable to your team. We finished second in the West, which nobody thought we were going to do at the beginning of the year even when everybody was healthy. We were near the top in having the most injuries. We won our division in a division where every single team made the playoffs.
“There’s so many factors. I led the league in total points scored, minutes played. Like I said, I’m not taking anything away from Steph, but I felt I deserved the Most Valuable Player. That stays with me.”
That’s very Kobe Bryant of you to turn that into fuel. Defining the MVP Award is an annual discussion that nobody agrees on.
I could get into how Harden was the old-school, traditional stats MVP, how that ignores how Steve Kerr used Curry, and how that opened up the Warriors’ offense to championship levels. Curry put up numbers, but he was also the distraction, the bright star that Kerr used to open up looks for Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, and others. Curry’s strength was not just what he did with the ball in his hands, but his gravity to draw defenders even when he didn’t. Did the Warriors stay healthier than the Rockets? No doubt. Should Curry be penalized for that?
It’s simple for Harden — if he can put up those numbers again, if he can be the fulcrum of a top offense, he will be in the discussion for MVP again. And, if he can lead the Rockets beyond the conference finals, nobody will talk about that MVP snub anyway.