The Miami Heat did their job, getting the split in Indiana after grabbing an 87-83 win in Game 2 on Tuesday night. Now the Heat hold their destiny in their hands if they can protect their home court. The Heat have won 5 straight home games this postseason, but the Pacers have won 5 straight road games this postseason as well. Saturday night's Game 3 will end one of those streaks.
Now is the time the Heat need Chris Bosh to step up more than ever. Bosh has been pretty consistent this postseason, scoring in double figures in all but one game heading into the Eastern Conference Finals. But after two games in Indiana, he totaled 9 points in each of the two games and mostly ineffective. But he has been doing whatever he can to help the team, even if it means just being a threat.
Bosh doesn't contribute in just the scoring column. His length creates problems on defense for the Pacers, and his threat from deep helps stretch the floor. But overall, the Heat need more from Bosh.
Chris Bosh's Stats in Indiana:
Game 1 - 9 points, 4-12 FG, 2 rebounds, 4 assists
Game 2 - 9 points, 4-9 FG, 6 rebounds, 2 steals
Heading into the series against the Pacers, Bosh was shooting 48% from deep in the playoffs, but he is just 1-9 so far against Indiana. Bosh has made a three-pointer in every game the Heat have won this postseason, and didn't connect in the Heat's two losses. Bosh averaged 14.5 PPG and 14.6 PPG in the first two series, respectively.
As the Heat head home for Games 3 and 4 in Miami, now would be a great time for Bosh to pick up his game, score in double figures and connect from downtown. Bosh has a tougher defensive assignment in this series than the two before, and that could be affecting his output on the offensive end. He is having to bang with David West and Roy Hibbert on defense, and taking a lot of mental fatigue to stay on top of them.
Bosh usually plays pretty well at home. Statistically, Bosh shoots better and scores more at home than he does on the road, but his rebounds, assists, and steals are slightly down. If Bosh is able to shake free of his little slump from the perimeter, it changes Miami's entire offense. The Heat are 18-7 when Bosh scores 20+ points this season. And when he makes 10+ FG, the Heat are 8-2. And probably the most telling stat is that when Bosh makes 2/3 of his shots (66%), the Heat are undefeated, 15-0 this season. If Bosh can get going, Miami is much more potent.
And with the limited success that Udonis Haslem has had so far, as opposed to the regular season against Indiana, the Heat have relied on Chris Andersen much more, who played a postseason high 29 minutes in Game 2 (second most of the entire season, 32 minutes on 1-10-14). When Andersen is in the game, Bosh is needed to be a floor spacer, and if he isn't hitting, the floor shrinks for Dwyane Wade and LeBron James.
So, as adjustments are made on both ends, one of the keys for the Miami Heat will be whether or not Chris Bosh can be more consistent as a scorer and shooter. If he can, the Heat will have a much more efficient and fluent offense, if not, they may have to continue to grind out games.
Either way, Miami will need good games over the weekend to go back to Indiana up 3-1 for Game 5 on Wednesday.
Game 3 of the series is Saturday night, 8:30 PM EST on ESPN.