Passing Judgment – In the Heat of the Moment

With LeBron James and Dwyane Wade playing together on the Miami Heat, it is sometimes easy to forget that they are just two players on the roster.  But after what has transpired the past couple games in the NBA Eastern Conference semi-finals, it is becoming evident that King James and D-Wade cannot win all by themselves. 

As we all remember during the summer of 2010, King James stole all of the headlines when he infamously announced he was taking his talents to South Beach.  But lest we not forget, he didn’t head south all by himself.  The Miami Heat also brought former Toronto Raptor Chris Bosh along with James to help form the most formidable threesome in the NBA in the hopes of leading to multiple championships. 

There is no doubt that James and Wade get most, if not all, of the attention and headlines.  And deservingly so.  But in their quest for NBA dominance and a championship, it has become clear that there are other people on the roster who are just as, if not more important, than James and Wade.  Chris Bosh is not a better basketball player than either James or Wade.  However, what he contributes to the team in the box score and on the court is invaluable and cannot be replaced when he is out of the lineup. 

Bosh averages 18 points per game and just under 8 rebounds.  While those numbers are not going to win any MVP awards, they must be put in perspective of the entire team.  Bosh also is a defensive presence and can guard other team’s power forwards or centers.   In Game 1 of the series against the Indiana Pacers, Bosh scored 13 points and grabbed five rebounds In only 16 minutes before succumbing to an abdominal strain that will keep him out indefinitely.  This all but eliminates him from the rest of this series, which is devastating for Miami. 

Sure enough, the Pacers won Game 2 by a score of 78-75 and the loss by the Heat can be directly attributed to Bosh’s absence.  Without a deep bench, LeBron James was forced to play power forward for several minutes which clearly took its toll physically on the gifted superstar.  James acknowledged how much more physically taxing it was to play power forward.  This likely caused him to play more minutes than he would have if Bosh was out there and likely sapped him of energy and strength a lot quicker than expected. 

On top of that, Indiana destroyed Miami in Game 3 by a score of 94-75 to take a 2-1 lead in the series.  Needing to rely on their two remaining stars, the Heat suffered due to the poor play of Dwyane Wade which has led many to speculate over whether he is suffering from an injury as well.  He has also become quite confrontational with everyone, including his coach.  To further the frustration, shooting guard Mario Chalmers, one of the few other Miami players who can score, sustained a wrist injury although x-rays came back negative.  It is unknown what his availability will be for Game 4 or the rest of the series.  We do not know this information right now because the heat canceled their practice on Friday and did not have to speak to the media.

Pat Riley is a brilliant basketball mind and one of the best coaches in the history of the game.  He made a huge splash by bringing in James and Bosh to work with D-Wade in pursuit of NBA dominance.  However, it is abundantly clear that he did not invest properly in the rest of the roster.  Miami has a very weak bench and cannot overcome the loss of Bosh.  Now with Wade being ineffective and Chalmers possibly being out, the Heat are about to get iced by the Pacers.  And everyone outside of Miami, especially in Cleveland, couldn’t be happier to see that.

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