Heat Vs. Thunder: Chris Bosh Needs To Step Up In Game 2 ... Or Else

The Miami Heat looked pretty solid through three quarters in the first game of the 2012 NBA Finals, but it was the Oklahoma City Thunder that ended up on top when the final buzzer sounded. There are likely going to be quite a few game plan changes made for Thursday night's Game 2, but it seems quite a few issues could be alleviated if Miami is able to get more out of Chris Bosh.

Bosh missed a significant portion of the earlier NBA Playoffs with an abdominal strain, but the third member of the vaunted "Big Three" has now been back in the lineup for a few games, giving him time to get his playoff legs back. Now that he's had time to re-acclimate himself with the court, Sports Illustrated's Chris Mannix writes that it's time to show why he's often mentioned in the same breath as teammates LeBron James and Dwyane Wade.

Bosh will have to kick it into gear, quickly. The pressure will always be on James to win and the grace period Wade received for winning the title in 2006 has long since expired. But Bosh faces a different kind of scrutiny. He chose to come to Miami, but one more season on the wrong end of a Finals celebration could punch his ticket out of town. The Thunder are proof that you can win without an offensive-minded frontcourt, so long as you have scorers everywhere else. And if a top point guard suddenly becomes available, you can bet Bosh's name will be the first out of Riley's mouth.

In reality, this game might not be as important to Bosh's career as Mannix writes that it is. That said, however, there's no doubt he'd be the easiest member of the Big Three to part with and, if that happens, he'll be scrutinized the rest of his career for failing to help the much-hyped Heat win an NBA Championship after all of the initial fanfare.

For more on the Heat, head over to Peninsula Is Mightier and SB Nation Tampa Bay. For Thunder news and notes, visit Welcome To Loud City. And for news, analysis and everything else revolving around the NBA Playoffs, be sure to visit SB Nation's NBA page.

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