After missing nine games with an abdominal injury, then returning in a reserve role, Bosh's role on the team had fallen under question with the Heat playing well while riding James and Wade successfully into the Finals.
Tuesday's game — when the Thunder outscored Miami on the run and in the paint — adjusted those thoughts, with most analysts crying for more Bosh.
Maybe he heard them.
“Well, it's just one of those things where you know it's time,” Bosh said. “Sometimes, it's just one of those things you can feel.”
Bosh played big from the start, helping the Heat romp to a big early lead. He had his double-double by halftime. He tied his career playoff high with the 15 rebounds and his eight offensive boards were just two fewer than the Thunder team total.
Bosh said he finds a different comfort in starting. The entire Heat team looked more comfortable with him back in that role.
“It was key, you know, having our best players on the floor early,” Wade said, “especially when we needed to start off great. We needed to play well from the beginning. So Chris came out just like the rest of us — very aggressive — and that spreads the floor.”
So does Battier, who matched his surprising Tuesday night scoring production with 17 points. Udonis Haslem provided some toughness and four boards off the bench, while Cole and James Jones played valuable minutes that allowed the starters to get a blow, after they looked spent in the fourth quarter of the opener when Spoelstra tightened his rotation.
Best of all for the Heat, Bosh was back — all the way back.
“It was a big game for us and 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 of not,” Bosh said. “So today was a good time to really see where I'm at.
“Fortunately, things went well for us. It went well for me individually and we did what we were supposed to do.”