The Miami HEAT followed up their dominant game 1 playoff performance by another convincing game 2 win against the Charlotte Hornets. They scored 72 points in the first half, which is the most in any postseason half in the franchise’s history. The team finished 9-16 from beyond the arc. They’ve looked like an offensive juggernaut in the first two games of the playoffs, finishing with at least 115 points in back-to-back games for the first time all season.
There couldn’t be a better time for the HEAT to be peaking, and while everyone is basking in the bliss of success. No one is really talking about the elephant in the room. The major component missing through all of this team success is the team’s franchise player, Chris Bosh. When LeBron James decided to take his talents back to Cleveland, Pat Riley threw his cards on the table, and gave Bosh a 5-year, $118 million deal. Bosh was to be the new face of the franchise. However, blood clots ended his first season in his epic deal early, and the blood clots came back in the second season, as well.
When Bosh went down at the start of the second half of the season, many experts figured the HEAT would be done as a legitimate contender in the postseason, but this team with a good balance of veterans and younger players is proving that they can get it done. The team finished the regular season, 19-10 after the All Star Break. Before Bosh’s injury, it was a team that seemed to be struggling to find their identity, and team went 29-24.
Many times after both wins and losses a familiar theme echoed in the locker room, and that was the veterans needing to learn to trust the younger guys on the team. Bosh’s exit may have forced the veterans to do what they were maybe hesitant to do all season in giving that trust to the younger players. Hassan Whiteside had already been flourishing, and showing his value. Whiteside even lost his starting job, and still continued to dominate in the paint. Injuires forced the emergence of rookie Josh Richardson, and Justise Winslow continued to develop into a promising pro.
Dwyane Wade addressed what the absence of Chris Bosh meant for the team at the 3:11 mark, where he basically said the team was forced to “change what [they] were doing and adapt.”
It may only be games 1 and 2 of the first round of the playoffs, and the HEAT are putting up offensive numbers that no one expected. No one really wants to say it, but could it be that the team is actually better without their franchise star Chris Bosh? The team’s dominance in the paint continues, but these playoff games are now seeing the opening of a perimeter game that wasn’t there before. If the team is indeed better without Bosh, whose status remains uncertain due to the seriousness of blood clots, then what does that mean for Bosh’s relationship with the team?
A major improvement in the second half of the season suggests that maybe the team might be better without the big man, but a $118 million contract looms over the team. It maybe hard to admit, but it’s definitely something that has to be lingering in the minds of some in the organization.