The Miami Heat can breathe a sigh of relief as All-Star forward Chris Bosh is a game-time decision to return for Game Five of the Eastern Conference Finals on Tuesday night in Miami against the Boston Celtics.
After losing two-straight games against at Boston, Bosh could be a key defensive presence in the interior for Miami, and help create more offensive opportunities for his teammates in the half-court set.
Bosh, who strained a lower abdominal muscle during Game One of the Indiana-Miami series on May 13, may prove to be the catalyst for Miami to overcome Boston's size advantage, though the Celtics have failed to gain a rebounding advantage in the series.
The Celtics, who have won the last two games of the series, appear to have the momentum working in their favor.
Head coach Doc Rivers insisted that the team will be ready for the return of Bosh and whatever the Heat have in store.
We don't have to do everything different, Rivers said, according to CBS Sports. We've prepared every game like Bosh is going to play.
Bosh has averaged 14.7 points, 6.8 rebounds, and 1.0 assist in six playoff games. The Heat have won five out of six games with Bosh.
As the value of Bosh's absence had certainly shown over the last couple of games, one of the biggest challenges that the Heat have to address is the ability to tame Boston big man Kevin Garnett.
Garnett, who in Game Three made 10-of-16 shots, all from close range, has been a key defensive presence for the Celtics since he was traded to Boston from the Minnesota Timberwolves before the 2007-2008 season.
In the playoffs, the sixteen-year veteran is averaging 19.5 points, 10.8 rebounds, and 1.5 blocks per game.
Proving that age is just a number, Garnett will have a large task ahead if Bosh returns to active lineup.
K.G. is a difficult cover, said LeBron James. He shoots higher than anybody we have in this league. So we have to do a better job of trying to help each other out and not expose ourselves as much with our coverages.
As the trash talk increases, both teams are aware that talking rarely makes a difference in the end.
Game Five of the Eastern Conference Finals is set to tip-off around 8:40 p.m. in Miami. Live coverage of the game will be on ESPN, with a live stream available on ESPN3.
Prediction: With or without Bosh in the starting rotation, Miami is expected to play with more urgency than in the two games in Boston. Following his recent performances, Rondo should have control over the court with at least a double-double. Expect James and Dwayne Wade to have big games, but keep a close watch on the effectiveness of the Heat Bench. Wade should bounce back from a poor shooting effort in Game Four, and the Heat will probably be too much for the Celtics to handle in Miami.
Predicted Score: Heat over Celtics, 96-89