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NBA Finals: Will the Heat's Chris Bosh remain the third wheel?

Bosh said he will do whatever coach Erik Spoelstra wants, whether it's start or come off the bench.
By John Rohde Published: June 11, 2012

The Thunder's “Big 3” is Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and James Harden, in that order.

The Miami Heat's “Big 3” is LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, with Bosh always listed third.

The difference for the Heat in the NBA Finals could very well depend on whether Bosh remains the team's third wheel.

Bosh sneaking into the top two spots could mean trouble for OKC.

Back from an abdomen injury that caused him to miss nine playoff games, the 6-foot-11, 235-pound Bosh seemed to return to form in his last game, finishing with 19 points and eight rebounds coming off the bench in a Game 7 victory over the Boston Celtics on Saturday night in Miami.

There also was something new in Bosh's repertoire as he drained 3 of 4 from 3-point range against the Celtics – this from a career 20.0-percent shooter beyond the arc in the postseason.

Game 1 of the NBA Finals between the Heat and Thunder will be held Tuesday at 8 p.m. at Chesapeake Energy Arena and as of Monday, Bosh returning to the starting remained a game-time decision.

Miami coach Erik Spoelstra said he would “consider everything by (Tuesday) night” in choosing between Bosh and Shane Battier at the starting power forward spot.

“I think he can handle more minutes,” Spoelstra said of Bosh. “We'll have to see.”

Bosh sounded ready, willing and able while addressing media Monday at The Peake.

“It's coach's call and whatever he wants to do, I'm with it,” Bosh said.

In this year's playoffs, the Heat is 7-2 with Bosh and 5-4 without him.

“Any time you have any player out, you're going to have to make adjustments and you're going to struggle a little bit,” Bosh said.

Miami struggled more than “a little bit.”

The Heat was pronounced dead by some when it fell behind 2-1 on the road against the Indiana Pacers in the Eastern Conference semifinals, and also when it trailed 3-2 going back to Boston in the Eastern Conference Finals.

“We had our backs against the wall a few times,” Bosh acknowledged. “I'm really just proud of my teammates for not making any excuses. Everybody could have made any excuse in the world about why we couldn't have overcome our adversity, but we did and we're here and we have a chance to capitalize on the situation.”

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