Coming to own defense
Bosh puts Game 2 struggles behind him
DALLAS — He already had been downplaying his return home, and the decisive play of Game 2 of the NBA Finals encouraged Chris Bosh to talk even less about it.
Bosh led Lincoln High School in Dallas to a 40-0 record and a Class 4A state title in 2002, and a year later was the fourth overall pick of the NBA draft, taken by the Toronto Raptors. He has come to Dallas several times during his career but never under the circumstances he dealt with last night.
Bosh said he was never a Mavericks fan growing up, “more a fan of the NBA,’’ and none of his family members are fans of the home team. His homecoming became a bigger story line after Dirk Nowitzki scored the winning basket against Bosh in Game 2.
After the Heat’s 88-86 victory last night, with Bosh scoring 18 points and hitting the winning jumper in the final minute, the story line changed again — to Miami being two wins away from the NBA title.
“It’s not what happens, it’s how you react,’’ said Bosh, who is shooting 31 percent (16 of 52) in the series. “We knew this was not going to be easy. I think it’s just symbolic of our season. You just have to keep overcoming. If you lose Game 2 at home, blow a 15-point lead, and you’re out on the road and everything is against you, you have to get it done.’’
Miami coach Erik Spoelstra was heavily criticized for allowing Bosh to defend Nowitzki, who simply drove past his defender and kissed a lefthanded layup off the glass with 3.6 seconds left in Game 2, capping Dallas’s rally from a 15-point deficit. Last night, with the game on the line, Udonis Haslem was on Nowitzki when the Mavericks star missed a long fadeaway at the buzzer.
Bosh said he has kept potential distractions at arm’s length and handed out only four tickets to Game 3.
“I’ve done a job of just keeping everything where it’s supposed to be,’’ he said. “As I said before, we have all summer to kick it and do what we want to do. It’s all about basketball.’’
Haywood sits out Dallas center Brendan Haywood was inactive for last night’s game after injuring his hip in Game 2, forcing coach Rick Carlisle to use little-used Ian Mahinmi as the primary backup to Tyson Chandler.
Haywood, who signed a six-year, $55 million contract last summer, is considered an offensive liability but can block shots and grab rebounds.
“It will change our rotation, obviously,’’ Carlisle said. “He’s one of our biggest guys, we all know that.’’
Haywood is hoping to be available for Game 4 tomorrow night.
Frank a contender Celtics assistant Lawrence Frank is a candidate for the head coaching job with the Pistons, who fired John Kuester yesterday. Frank was beaten out by Celtics legend Kevin McHale for the Rockets vacancy, and doesn’t appear to be a serious candidate in the Warriors’ search . . . LeBron James attempted six free throws in the first two games, a frequency he said he would change by being “more aggressive in the paint.’’ Last night, James matched his Game 2 total with four attempts, making them all. The Heat went to the line just 15 times, the Mavericks 27.
Gary Washburn can be reached at email@example.com.