Plan B activated: Bosh, Battier change series
MIAMI – Even as LeBron James and Dwyane Wade were plowing the Miami Heat’s postseason path past the Indiana Pacers and then the Boston Celtics, the sense was more would be needed for a championship run.
More has arrived.
Chris Bosh is back in the starting lineup, and back playing like a starter.
Shane Battier has emerged as an NBA Finals revelation.
Plan “B” for the Miami Heat may yet provide the answer for solving the Oklahoma City Thunder in this best-of-7 series now tied 1-1.
For much of the Heat’s Big Three tenure, the overriding issue has been the uncertainty of the support system. When Bosh was lost in the first half of the first game in the second round against the Pacers, those concerns increased.
But as the Heat prepare to host the middle three games of the Finals at AmericanAirlines Arena, starting with Sunday’s 7 p.m. Game 3, answers suddenly are in abundance.
Bosh’s first start since his May 13 injury in Thursday night’s 100-96 Game 2 victory in Oklahoma City offered a reminder of how he can change the equation. In said case, his 16 points and 15 rebounds cutting the Thunder’s front line down to size.
Battier’s continued emergence in an unlikely starting role at power forward again spaced the floor, as he’s now 9-for13 from 3-point range in the series.
Bosh posted his first double-double in nearly two months.
Battier was just glad to be along for the ride in the starting lineup that the Heat utilized for the first time this season, one featuring Bosh, James, Wade, Battier and point guard Mario Chalmers.
“My teammates did a good job of finding me,” Battier said. “I owe a lot to LeBron, Dwyane and Chris. They command so much attention. The fourth and fifth option on the floor, they just don’t get a lot of attention.”
But what changed most Thursday is that the third option demanded plenty of attention. Bosh was strong both on the perimeter and at the rim.
“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,” he said.
When: 7 p.m. Sunday
Where: AmericanAirlines Arena, Miami
Line: Heat by 3 1/2