Finally, the Big Three we expected to see
MIAMI - After so much ugliness, the Big Three buckled down Wednesday and delivered some basketball beauty.
And the lynchpin was finally Chris Bosh.
"When he's aggressive like that, me and D-Wade can sit back and do what we need to do to pick up the rest," LeBron James said.
What he didn't say: About time.
Perhaps inspired by a little extra support from visiting friend Serena Williams or perhaps LeBron reached out in the past 24 hours - Bosh came out of the block with magnificent play and never looked back.
For one night, he was worthy of his Big Three moniker.
For one night, he belonged.
Bosh scored 22 points.
In the first half.
During the Heat's 123-96 drubbing of the Phoenix Suns, Like-a-Bosh (see: The Basketball Jones video) meant 35 points, six rebounds and four assists. It meant confidence and impact. It meant being a superstar.
"My shot was falling today," Bosh said.
That changed everything. It allowed James and Wade to have stellar nights with little pressure and almost no fear of another letdown.
LeBron nearly notched another triple-double in only 24 minutes of action. He had 20 points, nine assists and eight rebounds.
Then there was Wade, who literally attacked the hoop time after time. In every liftoff and throwdown you could feel, 25 rows back, all that frustration being forced through the rim.
He scored 17 points and had six assists and six rebounds.
It was all enough to be able to enjoy the moment and ignore the fact Bosh did a lot of his damage from the free-throw line and little of it in the paint. An interior presence remains an issue.
But that's a problem for another day.
"We looked similar to the first five or six games of the season tonight (more) than we have been for the last two or three," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said.
The Heat beat one of the league-s best point guards (Steve Nash), the first such hurdle they've cleared. They played with toughness and anger - Wade leading the way there - and they showed consistent glimpses of greatness.
For the first time, another team - a good team - faltered simply from the force of a LeBron-Wade-Bosh attack.
This was an actual Big Three, not the Miami Heat public relations backfire of selling the idea of three invincible stars and watching them get off to an uneasy, ill-fitting start - and not knowing how to spin that.
Not the Big Three of the Boston games, where at least one of them disappeared as if expecting the other two to pick up the slack.
Not the punch line, not the smile on Mark Cuban's face, not the trio that allowed Paul Pierce to tweet a taunt to LeBron.
This - for one night - was the real deal.
Wade seemed smoother, faster. LeBron dominated without pressing. And Bosh was his old self, so comfortable on the court you had to look twice to be sure it was indeed the non-dreadlocks version.
"I think he was due, well overdue, for one of these games," LeBron said. "I could see it in his eyes before the game."
One game is just one game. The Heat remain too small. The Heat will need this level of intensity every night out. The Heat must have a Chris Bosh who inspires fans' love like he did this night, rather than the one inspiring the Internet's ridicule (which he did for much of the preceding day).
This may last. It may not.
Scoring 35 points is a good way to start fitting in. Bosh won't do that every night. Nor will he often start so hot, command the tempo so early and ride his own hot touch to such good vibes.
It's still going to be hard before it gets better.
But it's also clear how good this team can be if Bosh can be great.
So LeBron still needs to go out of his way to make Bosh feel at home, to remember this is the former Toronto player who made videos of himself as a way to reach out to the world and be liked.
Wade, too. He needs to get in on the act with his buddy The King and help make Bosh feel like he belongs. It can pay huge dividends.
Don't just see it in his eyes, LeBron. Help put it there.
One game is just one game.
But for Heat fans, with Bosh as he was and LeBron and Wade riding that wave, it sure was a good one.
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