On Sunday afternoon, Chris Bosh took his first significant step toward recovering from a May 13 abdominal strain when he participated in an on-court walkthrough that included turning with the ball and moving laterally. However, the Heat are still preparing as though they will be without their star for Game 1 against the Celtics and beyond.
Bosh’s injury makes the Heat’s Eastern Conference Finals matchup against the Celtics a complete mystery. If both teams were at full strength, there are few who believe the Celtics have the athleticism and youth needed to hang with the Heat for seven games. Without Bosh, however, Boston could give Miami problems — particularly on offense.
Let’s say in theory the Heat have enough size with Udonis Haslem and Carlos Boozer to keep the Celtics’ front court in check. The biggest concern for Erik Spoelstra and company is what they will lose on the offensive end against a team that has gotten to this point by playing phenomenal defense. With Kevin Garnett not having to deal with Bosh on the defensive end of the court, he could stay fresh enough to give Miami fits working inside and out on offense.
LeBron James and Dwyane Wade have been scoring at will, and with Ray Allen nursing a banged-up ankle and Paul Pierce dealing with a strained MCL Boston could have trouble preventing Miami from continuing their offensive outburst. The Heat can and should beat the Celtics without Bosh, but given the matchup with Garnett on the other side his injury is more significant at the moment than it has been all postseason. If K.G. continues to look sharp, the fact that he doesn’t have to defend against Bosh can only help on the other end of the floor. If the Heat find themselves in trouble early in the series, don’t be surprised to see their big man return before he’s ready.
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