Chris Bosh hadn't started a game since May 13 and hadn't recorded a double-double since April 16. By the end of the first half on Thursday night, those uncharacteristically long streaks had ended.
Heat coach Erik Spoelsta, stubbornly keeping his lineup secret pregame, finally pulled the expected trigger, inserting the seven-time All-Star into the starting lineup.
Bosh rewarded that trust, grabbing 10 points and 10 rebounds in the first half, en route to a 16-point, 15-rebound effort.
“I kind of put it in my mind that I knew that I had to really give the effort that I had been giving before, whether I was ready or not,” Bosh said. “Fortunately things went well for us, it went well for me individually.”
What Bosh gave — a strong inside presence and a big man who can spread the floor — is exactly what Shane Battier said Miami has been lacking of late.
“C.B. is so huge for us, because he is a dimension we just don't have,” Battier said. “We just don't have size down low and a guy that can just wreck havoc in the middle. We survived basically two series without him, but no way we can beat this team without C.B.”
Throughout the past three games, LeBron James' jumper has been inconsistent, bordering on ice cold. Dating to Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals, James is 4-of-28 on shots outside the paint.
But James was in attack mode from the outset Thursday night, forgetting about his rusty outside game and barreling through the lane with controlled force.