Much of the Miami Heat‘s praise for snapping a two-game losing streak against the Houston Rockets on Sunday afternoon belonged to Ray Allen and Dwyane Wade. Both players had huge games down the stretch, especially during the fourth quarter when the Rockets took a five-point lead after trailing during much of the game. Yet, one player who didn’t get nearly enough credit for his performance yesterday was Chris Bosh.
Bosh was able to score 18 points and bring down eight rebounds against arguably one of the toughest frontcourts in the entire league. The Rockets have the No. 1 rebounding team in the NBA, and yet the Heat managed to only be outrebounded by three. Seven of Bosh’s eight rebounds were also defensive, which really limited the Rocket’s second-chance points in the paint. Because of this, Bosh finished the game with a +8 rating, which was the second-highest, right behind LeBron James at +11.
Bosh has become arguably one of the Heat’s best frontcourt defenders, and this useful skillset will definitely come in handy once the playoffs arrive. With Greg Oden receiving more and more playing time as the season winds down, Bosh has been given the opportunity to play more minutes at his natural position, power forward. This has also allowed Bosh to become a more aggressive defender largely due to how quick on his feet he is laterally, making him one of the best pick-and-roll defending “centers” in the league. This defensive versatility is what makes Bosh such a weapon for the Heat.
With all this talk of defense, I haven’t even mentioned how potent Bosh’s offensive skill set is. With Allen’s drastic 3-point shooting decline this season, Bosh has become one of the Heat’s most reliable 3-point shooters. His ability make shots from beyond the arc stretches the opponent’s defense on a whole other level.
Most centers won’t make the effort of chasing Bosh around the 3-point line, which means he will constantly be open from beyond the arc. To put his new-found 3-point shooting abilities in perspective, Bosh has a higher 3-point shooting percentage than LeBron James, Shane Battier, Norris Cole and Dwyane Wade.
It isn’t a secret that Bosh can shoot the three well. Most teams now scout Bosh for this exact play when going against the Heat. The key here is to utilize Bosh with more movement outside the perimeter to get him open; a quick screen or pick should create more than enough space for Bosh to shoot well.
With the playoffs less than 20 games away, the Heat need to start implementing set plays that involve Bosh outside the perimeter. It could be the difference between walking away with a third straight title or going home early.