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The Celtics and Heat will battle it out in Miami on Tuesday night in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals.
With the series tied 2-2 after the C’s took both games in Boston, the Heat are expected to have forward Chris Bosh back Tuesday night. Bosh missed nine games after suffering the injury over three weeks ago, and it’s still unclear how well he will play in his return.
Sports Illustrated”s Ian Thomsen joined 98.5 The Sports Hub’s The D.A. Show Monday night to talk about the ripple effect Bosh may have on the Celtics defense. While Bosh himself might now put up big numbers, his return may help a struggling Heat star.
“To me, I think they have to hope the big effect is it gets Dwyane Wade going. I don’t think they miss Chris Bosh’s production, but Dwyane Wade misses it a lot,” said Thomsen. “The Celtics have been able to take Kevin Garnett and shade over towards Wade, trap him and get the ball out of his hands. If Chris Bosh is playing in this series and is any kind of threat, it’s going to be more difficult for the Celtics to pay more attention to Dwyane Wade. That’s the ripple effect of the whole thing.”
“The Celtics defense, as they’ve done throughout these five years, they’ve figured out who they want to take away and they’re able to do it. It’s like the Bill Belichick style,” Thomsen said of the Celtics choosing to shut down Wade this series. “He’s not the only guy they’ve done it to; in the past they’ve done it to LeBron.”
However, Thomsen warns Bosh will be rusty and might still be hampered by the injury. The one benefit he does have over the aging Celtics are fresh legs.
“The mistake will be if anyone thinks the guy will be able to do a lot. That’s a very difficult injury, and even if he plays there is a very good chance he’ll be limited,” he said of Bosh. “He hasn’t played well against Garnett for the most part, and Garnett is playing great right now. The one thing he does have right now is his legs. If he can be active defensively and cut off some of the lobs to Garnett in the post, that is something they can’t get from anyone else.”
As for the Celtics, they are getting some solid production from the injured Ray Allen. He has scored in double-digits each of the last three games, hitting eight of his last 21 three-pointers.
Ray has been dealing with bone spurs in his ankle, but it seems he has learned to play with them. But Thomsen says the injury could come back to haunt Allen and the Celtics at any point.
“I think it’s just how he falls out of bed that morning; it’s that simple. If he can get up and move that foot around — and isn’t in excruciating pain — that’s a good day for the Boston Celtics,” said Thomsen. “It’s amazing what the margin of error for the team has become; the outcome depends on how Ray Allen feels in the morning.”
However, if Allen can stay relatively healthy, given the Celtics play in the last three games Thomsen is now giving the edge to Boston.
“The spirit of this team is a very rare thing. That spirit is what you’re seeing now the last couple of games,” he said. “There is no reason why they should be doing what they’re doing, but they’re doing it anyways. That’s who they are. It’s like they know this is the last time, and they’re going to define the terms.”
“When I look at these next games coming up, I don’t see how you can pick Miami,” said Thomsen, who originally picked the Heat to win the series in five games. “The Celtics have outplayed them the last three games, and Rondo is the most valuable player in the series. Far more valuable than LeBron. I think you have to look at it and say the benefit of the doubt goes to Boston.”