Chris Bosh, Roy Hibbert put Game 6 misdeeds in rearview
Miami's Chris Bosh and Indiana's Roy Hibbert vow to overcome struggles in Game 7.
By CHRIS TOMASSONFS Florida
MIAMI -- Two centers have had some troubling recent days for very different reasons.
Indiana Pacers pivot
Roy Hibbert has been dominant in the Eastern Conference finals against the
Miami Heat, averaging 22.8 points and 10.8 rebounds. But Hibbert was fined $75,000 by the NBA on Sunday for uttering during a Saturday night press conference a gay slur and a profanity.
Heat big man
Chris Bosh has struggled in the series, averaging 11.3 points and 3.7 rebounds. With Game 7 tonight at AmericaAirlines Arena, he has told his teammates he's sorry.
"I apologized to my teammates," Bosh said after Monday morning's shootaround about his performance in the first six games. "And I won't have to do it anymore after the game. So we just look forward to (Monday night) and move on after that."
Bosh, who was very distraught after shooting 1 of 8 for five points in Miami's 91-77 loss in Saturday's Game 6, vowed to be a different player in Game 7. He openly discussed his struggles.
Hibbert talked plenty about basketball but didn't want to address the comments for which he was fined beyond a statement he issued Sunday in which he apologized. He did say he doesn't believe the incident will affect his play, saying, "I'm good."
"I'm ready to play (in) Game 7," Hibbert said. "I haven't been in this position ever in three years I've been in the playoffs. I'm just going to play patient, tough and hard."
Those descriptions haven't applied to Bosh during the series. After averaging 16.6 points and 6.8 rebounds during the regular season, he's fallen apart.
"It's really nothing that coaches can do to free me," said Bosh when asked about how Heat coach Erik Spoelstra was going to focus on creating better opportunities for Bosh and shooting guard Dwyane Wade, who also is struggling.
"It's just really myself. I just have to go out there and play basketball. And I don't have to invent anything. The coaches don't have to invent anything. We just have to do what we do better and we're all going to do that, myself included… I've just got to go out there and do it."
Due to the presence of the 7-foot-2 Hibbert, Bosh has played much more outside this series than normal. So the Pacers having been using power forward David West on him plenty.
"I changed my game, games one through six, and it hasn't really worked," Bosh said. "I just need to do what I do, and just let it all hang out."
Bosh said the problem with changing his game has been "just not being aggressive and playing my best."
Hibbert has been there to protect the rim throughout the series, and Bosh also hasn't been able to effectively guard him.
Still, Bosh vowed Monday he's not worried about the 275-pound Hibbert even if he's three inches taller and 40 pounds heavier.
"Why would I worry about him for?" Bosh said. "That has been my attitude. I just haven't employed it. That's my bad."
Hibbert has had plenty to worry about the past few days. But it's for a far different reason.
Pacers coach Frank Vogel, though, also doesn't believe Hibbert's comments and fine will end up being a distraction in Game 7. He said his center knows he messed up.
"He's probably the highest-character person I've ever coached player-wise and he just made a mistake," Vogel said. "We all make mistakes. He's ready to move past it. We support him and we love him and he knows he was wrong."
Hibbert, though, hasn't been doing much wrong on the court. He's playing the best ball of his career.
The Pacers are getting ample scoring from several guys in the series. Forward Paul George is averaging 21.5 points and West 17.0.
The Heat, though, aren't getting much beyond LeBron James' 28.5 points per game. Wade is averaging just 14.5 in the series, down from 21.2 in the regular season.
"We just can't sit around and expect LeBron to do all the work and just hope that he has a 50-point game," Bosh said. "It doesn't work like that. We have to do our part and in doing that, that frees him up to dominate when it's time."