NBA Finals: Bosh says Heat must 'play with fear' in Game 2

By Matt Moore | NBA writer

Chris Bosh talked about stress and anxiety before Game 2 Sunday.   (USATSI)
Chris Bosh says thinking about Game 2 vs. the Spurs is 'very, very stressful.' (USATSI)

MIAMI -- Sometimes it's difficult to suss out in media availabilities at the NBA Finals how much of the responses are dictated by where a team's head is, or by the storylines being driven by the media. But you try to look at where the conversations organically come from, and before Game 2 of the NBA Finals between the Heat and Spurs, Miami's conversation kept leading me to one word.


Chris Bosh described the situation going into Game 2 for him as one of anxiety.

"For me, it's stressful," Bosh said. "It's very, very stressful. The reward is great, but not knowing if you're going to get to the reward is very stressful."

Bosh also described the emotional state a player goes through with two off days between games. It sounds like a lot to deal with.

"You go through all kinds of feelings," Bosh said. "Anxiety, calmness, excitement, disappointment, it ranges. Your brain really goes everywhere. You just have to have your own kinds of tactics to get through it. "

Bosh did say that fear in this situation was a good thing.

"It's always good to have a healthy dose of fear going into a situation like this," Bosh said. "That is a big part of success, you're going to have to play with that fear. It makes you think quicker, it makes you do a little more. We're going to have to play with that nice mix. It's going to motivate us to play a lot better."

The Spurs, who made only Gregg Popovich and Tony Parker available to the media, of course had no such discussions. It's work to them.

And if you're looking for bad signs, the fact that the Heat spoke Saturday and Sunday about emotions, fear, and anxiety, and the Spurs simply kept talking about the same non-descript things their robotic minds always spit out, is not a great indication for Miami's chances.

The widespread belief among basketball minds I've spoken to is that Miami will come out with more urgency, more energy, while the Spurs will be happy to have gotten the split and not be able to match the intensity.

Except the Spurs' ability to harness their emotions this season may be the second-biggest reason they're in the Finals. (The first being they are really, really, very awesomely good.) They don't get rattled. They don't change their approach. They don't ramp up or down. Down seven in the fourth quarter of Game 1, they closed Miami out. Down double-digits to start against the Grizzlies in Game 3, they came back and won. They're never shaken.

The Heat aren't shaken. They've been here before. But their conversation seemed more in touch with a team outmatched, players who are far within their heads, than with confident champs just rattling off work in preparation for an important test.

We'll have to see if emotions win the day in Game 2.

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