Chris Bosh can’t wait to see Philadelphia at its best.
No, not the 76ers.
Miami already survived the Sixers’ top effort in Game 1 and held
on for the victory.
Bosh wants to absorb the atmosphere at a hostile court like in
Philly – from the rowdy fans in the rare full house dressed in
matching T-shirts, to the pyrotechnics, and a new pregame video
that incorporates live performance elements.
”I’m sure they’ll be ready. They have a reputation, so I expect
them to really own up to it,” Bosh said. ”We’ve prepared
ourselves. We just have to go in there with thick skin like we
always have and let the opposing boos really, really motivate
Oh, boy. Just what the Heat need is more motivation.
The Heat beat the 76ers in a close Game 1 and destroyed them in
LeBron James is healthy. So is Bosh. Dwyane Wade says he’s
”good to go” after dealing with migraine symptoms.
So unless the trio all come down with some sort of mystery
ailment that puts them on the bench for Thursday’s Game 3, the
Sixers are still in serious trouble. Home court or not.
”We’ve bounced back, we’ve shown resiliency,” Sixers coach
Doug Collins said. ”I think for our guys, if they could just come
out and see the ball in the basket, it would be such a lift for
The Sixers are viewed as little more than a speed bump on
Miami’s way to the Eastern Conference semifinals.
The Heat have said all the right things. The playoffs don’t
start until a team wins on the road. The Philly fans are some of
the toughest around. No game is harder to win than Game 3.
Give the Heat credit, they believe in good sportsmanship.
The Heat are likely among the few people not wearing a
Philadelphia 76ers uniform who won’t concede that this 2-0 lead in
the Eastern Conference playoff series is Miami’s to lose.
Collins said his team remains upbeat. But unless they can find a
way to shut down James, Wade, and Bosh at the same time, the odds
of winning a game remain uphill.
”In Game 3, I think their will is at stake here,” Bosh said.
”They’re going to come out fighting, they’re going to come out
really swinging, especially with that home energy behind them.
The Sixers won 26 home games this year – one less than their
overall total from a year ago. The Heat haven’t flinched as the
NBA’s top touring act. They led the East and tied for the NBA lead
with 28 road victories.
Talent always finds a way to win out over location.
Win Games 3 and 4 in Philly and the series is over.
The Sixers have adopted ”showyaluv” as their season slogan.
The Heat are ready to ”showdabroom.”
”If I came up here and said, ‘We’re trying to win one,’ then
people would look at us crazy,” James said. ”We’re trying to win
both, but Game 3 is the most important one.”
The Sixers had a surprise guest at Thursday’s practice: Chairman
Ed Snider, who founded the Flyers, arrived to applause in his team
sweats. He watched practice and chatted with Collins before leaving
for a scheduled 4 p.m. flight to watch the Flyers play Game 4 of
their playoff series in Buffalo.
”We’ve got a really good organization now, the best we’ve had
in 15 years,” Snider said.
That starts at the top with team president Rod Thorn, general
manager Ed Stefanski, and Collins. Collins, who refused to take
credit for the Sixers turnaround, thrust himself into contention
for coach of the year honors.
He took a Sixers roster that made only minor changes from last
year’s 27-win roster and turned them into a 41-win playoff
The Sixers, though, have a roster full of really nice players.
Most teams would love to have Lou Wiliams, Thaddeus Young and Andre
Iguodala. They’re just not the type of franchise players a team can
build a title contender around.
In other words, they’re not The Big 3.
If the Sixers are going to contend against Miami, Boston and
Orlando, they’ll have to find that LeBron-esque superstar.
”We’ve gone to 41. Now 41 to 50 is another jump,” Collins
said. ”To go plus-14 is big. To go plus-nine is huge. You can’t do
that by contracting. You’ve got to do that by adding. Sometimes you
can add by subtracting. But eventually you’ve got to add by adding.
We’re at a point now where we’ve got add by adding.”
But that time is not now.
”We can’t push fast forward,” Collins said. ”It doesn’t work
The Sixers did not boast of ”you’ve got to believe” comebacks
or sell a fanbase on ”anything can happen.” They respect the Heat
too much and know – as Collins said after Game 2 – the Heat are the
They’d like to simply start small with one win at home.
AP Sports Writer Tim Reynolds in Miami contributed to this