The Miami Heat and Boston Celtics face off tonight in a pivotal game 5 that arguably will determine the winner of this series. Both teams have protected home court thus far, surviving the long haul of multiple overtime games, pound for pound physicality and on the fly coaching adjustments.
Their individual feuds and ongoing rivalry continues to surface in this series, with the latest excerpt from Rajon Rondo, who publically accused the Heat of complaining and wining to the referees during a halftime segment of game 4. Erik Spoelstra classified Rondo's remarks as "normal playoff chatter" but a motivational spark seems like the suggested translation. Similar to their last series against the Indiana Pacers and the erroneous trash talk from Danny Granger, LeBron James and Dwyane Wade find themselves in familiar territory. With the pressure at it's highest and Chris Bosh's availability rendered to a day-to-day question mark, game 5 will serve as the biggest and most significant game of the year for the Miami Heat.
Dwyane Wade 's struggles
Erik Spoelstra and the Miami Heat have got to figure out a way to get Wade going offensively. Wade has been nonexistent in the first half of this series, drifting out by the perimeter in no man's land and bombarded with double teams. The Celtics have made it their mission to not allow Wade to split the pick and roll and get into the lane with the same ease he had against the Pacers. Wade is averaging just 20 ppg on 45% shooting in this series but worst of all, appears to be disengaged.
LeBron James has had several big game 5's in his career, including an epic one last year against the Boston Celtics in the conference semi-finals. It was late in the 2nd quarter of game 4 against the Indiana Pacers this year when LeBron made it his mission to get Wade going offensively. The result: one the greatest performances from teammates in NBA history. Perhaps LeBron James will take the same approach tonight because in order for the Heat to prevail, he will need a dominant performance from his friend and fellow superstar.
"No one said it was easy. This is great. This is what the postseason is all about. It's about adversity and ups and downs. Like I said, you never get too high and you never get too low. We look forward to Game 5." - James said
The return of Chris Bosh? - Chris Bosh has been upgraded to day-to-day but still carries with him an incredible amount of uncertainty. In the words of Lebron, "You can't get too high or too low".
Should Bosh start? - Absolutely. Even if Bosh is just 80% healthy, his presence will be automatically felt. Bosh is the Heat's best mid range shooter, something the Heat have desperately missed in his absence. If Bosh can play, expect a plethora of high pick and rolls involving LeBron, Wade and Bosh
What can you expect from Bosh? - While it's entirely possible that Bosh could return and muster up 20+ points against the meager frontline of the Boston Celtics, a more logical and reasonable expectation would be the level of confidence and resurgence he would bring to the Heat. Miami has shouldered the load for 10 games, overcompensating for their lack of size and depleted bench. A Bosh return would re-energize the team mentally and physically and perhaps light that important fire that the Heat have been continuously criticized for not having.