Taking control: Chris Bosh steps into playmaking role to lead Heat to victory
MIAMI -- Six days ago, the Miami Heat had lost their first regular-season game ever in which Chris Bosh scored at least 30 points.
The win streak ended at 17 games with the 108-91 loss to the Detroit Pistons last Tuesday, but a new one could begin after Bosh's dominant 32-point performance against the New York Knicks on Monday in a 109-95 win.
Bosh's 12 points in the fourth quarter were instrumental in the victory, as he made baskets from all points on the floor and was on point from long range, finishing 4 of 6 from beyond the arc. It wasn't just his scoring that was a boost with Dwyane Wade out for a sixth consecutive game; his six assists were the most since joining the Heat.
"You could see his activity," head coach Erik Spoelstra said. "He was really active defensively. Offensively, we ran a lot of actions through him. He was a decision maker. He wasn't even hunting for his own shots, it just happened within the flow."
The 109 points were Miami's most since their second game of the season against the Philadelphia 76ers. Without their leading scorer in Wade, the Heat needed a big game from Bosh, and he responded by tying his career high with four 3-pointers in his seventh 30-point game of the season.
Partly because of the size of his contract and partly because his play hasn't elevated his team's fortunes, some blame has fallen on Bosh for the Heat's poor record. But there's no denying that the All-Star has been the team's most steady player in a season filled with twists and turns.
"No matter what, as tough as it has been on this team this season, we always come to play," Bosh said. "Guys want to win. Guys show up and compete no matter what. That's what I've really loved about this group for the whole season. We don't really let that deter us from what we're trying to do. I know this group of guys is going to dust themselves off and get up and play no matter what."
With his team unable to afford to lose more games to weaker opponents, he took his game to another level and was a force offensively -- though he still looked to get his teammates involved.
"(Bosh) was in a great rhythm," Spoelstra said. "Not only for his own offense, but he basically was our playmaker, getting us into second situations."
In one play during the fourth quarter, he took advantage that the Knicks defenders were zeroing in on him as he cut to the paint, and he dropped off a short pass to Chris Andersen for an easy layup. He then followed that up with a 3-pointer at the top of the key and a 19-foot jumper on the Heat's next two possessions to boost their lead to 14 points and seal the much-needed victory.
"It was a good night tonight," Bosh said. "I want us to learn from this tomorrow. We're in a position where we need to really continue to work the same habits, win or lose."