|Chris Bosh hopes to make a difference for Miami in Game 5. (Getty Images)|
With Chris Bosh expected to return to the starting lineup in Game 5, questions abound as to the impact. Ken Berger of CBSSports.com breaks down the basics, including the mixed bag that Bosh brings with him to the table should he play against Boston Tuesday night.
But how, specifically, does Bosh impact each side?
Boston's offense: Surprisingly, this is probably the biggest area where Bosh is both needed, and can impact the series. The Celtics have opened up a can of offense on the Heat's usually stingy defense in the past two games, and much of it has been fueled by the constant hammering of Kevin Garnett. The Heat can live with the chaos created by Rajon Rondo. The same cannot be said for their inability to combat Garnett in the paint.
The Heat have tried the same tactic they employed vs. seven-foot Roy Hibbert in the Indiana series, choosing to front Garnett in an attempt to deny him the ball. Unfortunately, both the Celtics' inlet passing and Garnett's ability to battle a front are superior to Indiana's and the results have been lobs for Garnett for post shots or tight putbacks. They've done a decent job in denying Garnett on the pick and pop, holding him to 57 percent of his shots from mid-range as opposed to his playoff average of 61 percent. But Garnett has made up that differential in the paint and at the rim, and that's where Miami's getting killed.
Bosh brings first and foremost length. Denying the entry pass, contesting the shot, maintaining position, all of these things are crucial against Garnett, particularly in the post, and the Heat simply don't have anyone to combat that. The big knocks on Bosh are about his physicality and aggressiveness but it doesn't matter how strong you are if Garnett is able to peel back and comfortably knock in jumpers. Bosh may not be able to stop Garnett, but he makes life harder. And that's pivotal.
Late in Game 4, Mickael Pietrus grabbed mutliple offensive rebounds. With LeBron James assigned to so many perimeter duties trying to handle and help on Rajon Rondo, having Bosh to corral misses is a big deal. Bosh doesn't have to win the rebounding battle himself. He just has to help it for Miami.
An undervalued component of Bosh coming back? Mario Chalmers benefits. Chalmers is having a terrific series, offensively, in his own right, but Chalmers has consistently worked best with Bosh in the pick and roll and pick and pop. Being able to have that back means that Chalmers can do more damage, and that's a big hit to a Celtics defense which has let Miami get buckets, just not where they want them.
Conversely, Bosh's return doesn't help Dwyane Wade much. Wade rarely runs a set with Bosh, and when he does, Wade is supremely more likely to drive off the defense or kick to an open shooter than return it to Bosh.
Finally, there's the matter of Bosh's passing. The Heat have been doing a significant amount of perimeter passing against Boston's rotating gauntlet. Having Bosh doesn't necessarily provide them with a great post passer, but Bosh is excellent both from the pinch post, and on interior passes. He can find a cutting James inside, he can move the ball to the corner without a wild cross-court pass. He helps in the little ways.
The question is, will he be healthy enough to make a diffrence, and will the rest of the Heat team step up enough for it to matter?