June 5, 2012; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Heat shooting guard Dwyane Wade (left) and small forward LeBron James (right) during the first half in game five of the Eastern Conference finals against the Boston Celtics of the 2012 NBA playoffs at American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE
Since LeBron James and Chris Bosh joined Dwyane Wade in Miami, they have only put themselves in this position one time. Getting to the NBA Finals last season, the Heat faced elimination just one time during their playoff run. That game didn't go very well for Miami as they lost to the Dallas Mavericks on their home floor. Now, almost a year later, the Heat have their backs against the wall again.
Miami jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the Eastern Conference Finals but now have lost three straight games to the Celtics and are one loss away from a second consecutive disappointing playoff exit. In order to force a Game 7, the Heat are going to have to win in Boston for the first time since Game 4 of last seasons Eastern Conference Semifinals, a span of four games. If we're talking regular season as well, Miami has won just once in 16 tries on that parquet floor.
However, when it comes to the playoffs, especially in an elimination game, you can throw all that history out the window. Right now it doesn't matter how long it's been since the Heat have won in Boston because all they need is one game. Considering the situation, I'm actually pretty excited for this game. If there is any time to see what this team is made of and how far they have come since last season, this is it.
Even though Miami isn't full strength right now, that's not unusual for any team that gets deep into the postseason. There is more then enough talent on the Heat's roster for them to come back and win this series, but they are going to have put forth a better all-around effort then we have seen in the past few games. The lapses on both ends of the floor will have to stop if Miami is going to have a shot at reaching the Finals.
Getting Chris Bosh back in the mix is sure to help the Heat avoid those extended scoring droughts. Bosh returned to the lineup in Game 5 after missing nine straight games with a lower abdominal strain. He contributed 9 points and 7 rebounds while being limited to just 14 minutes, and had to sit on the bench down the stretch and helplessly watch Boston come back and win the game.
Following the game, Bosh said that he didn't ask to be held out of the game, meaning that it was a coaching decision. Following practice on Wednesday he said that he is "99 percent", which tells me that he wants to get back to playing his usual amount of minutes. Coach Spoelstra said that he thinks Bosh can handle more playing time and would gauge it on how he feels as the game goes on.
Basically we're looking at a Heat team that is out of excuses. There will nothing or no one to blame other then themselves if they cant come back and win this series because we all know they are more then capable. That will only get you so far though, and if Miami is going to beat this surging Celtics team, they are going to have to be firing on all cylinders. Will they do it? We'll find out tonight...