Defensive Bosh steps up his offense

By Cristina Ledra
Globe Correspondent / May 4, 2011

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MIAMI —Chris Bosh’s contributions don’t always show up in the box score, although they did in the Heat’s 102-91 victory over the Celtics last night in Game 2.

Bosh finished with 17 points and 11 rebounds compared with 7 points and 12 rebounds in Game 1, and he continued to punish the Celtics on defense.

In the first game, Miami had James Jones come off the bench and score 25 points to make up for Bosh’s offensive shortcomings.

Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said before last night’s game he needed more intensity from Bosh and LeBron James said he didn’t expect Bosh to have another game like the first. Last night, the forward delivered.

“He does little things that help us win,’’ teammate Mario Chalmers said. “If the shots fall, that’s even better for us. We know he’s a big part of this team and he’s the type of person that doesn’t always have to score. He’ll do other things like rebounding and just being there on defense and that’s what we need.’’

Bosh was 5 of 10 from the field and 7 of 11 from the line. Consequently, the Heat’s bench didn’t have to be nearly as prolific in Game 2 as in Game 1. The Heat got 12 points from their reserves last night as opposed to Sunday night’s 29.

“Having another guy, with Chris as well, that takes over games takes a burden off of you,’’ said Dwyane Wade. “I’m able to focus on other things, be more of an all-around player.’’

Bosh scored more last night but his defense didn’t drop off.

He made it difficult for Celtics forward Kevin Garnett. Miami knew Garnett would come out with more intensity in Game 2 and the Heat expected Bosh to match or exceed it.

“The whole team anticipated him being aggressive early in the game and having a different start than he did before,’’ Bosh said. “We tried to give him as many contested shots as possible. Some of those he’s going to hit. He’s a great shooter from outside. We just wanted to keep a body on him and make him work for everything in the post.’’

Chalmers said it looked as if Garnett’s face was looking longer and longer from fatigue as the game went on but Bosh didn’t see it that way.

“He usually just keeps going and wears on you,’’ Bosh said. “So I really don’t look at a guy’s face if they’re getting tired or not. I just try to make them keep working and running to the end of the court and just make them move and if a guy’s fatigued, then I’ve done my job.’’

The Heat’s focus on defense has been obvious through the first two games of the series, and Bosh’s key role also has been apparent.

“Our defense is always going to be our backbone,’’ Bosh said. “We give credit to the defense any time we win games. Our goal is never to try and outscore an opponent. I think that’s unrealistic, especially going deeper into the playoffs. We’re going to have to stop teams.’’

Miami has Wade and James to be its biggest scorers and Bosh doesn’t necessarily have to put up the same gaudy numbers.

“Chris is a very mature, team-oriented guy and he doesn’t have to answer anybody’s critics or the expectations,’’ Spoelstra said. “He just has to help us win. He’s involved in every one of our actions offensively, whether he’s scoring or not. He allows us to run a lot of the things that we do. He’s a critical part to our offense but defensively he makes us very athletic.’’

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