NBA Finals 2013: Blaming Chris Bosh, Gregg Popovich's psychology and pork


The Heat continue to believe Chris Bosh will contribute, but everyone wants him closer to the rim in Game 2. Plus, lots more from Miami.

MIAMI -- Friday was Pick On Chris Bosh Day, which made it not unlike most days after a Heat loss.

Dwyane Wade remains untouchable down here and, while LeBron James took his share of the blame after recording a triple-double that wasn't up to some unattainable standard, people have a better understanding of James' game -- as well as an appreciation of the Spurs' defensive scheme.

The latter portion of the above paragraph is important because while the Spurs were aggressively fending off LeBron's drives, it left players like Bosh open for jump shots. He failed to connect on all four of his threes, however, including a wide open look late in the game. The scheme is not only an appreciation for all of LeBron's skill, it's also an indictment of sorts on the rest of his teammates. Especially Bosh.

"Look, we're not going to overreact to those misses," said Heat coach Erik Spoelstra. "He was wide open. He has been making some. He's hit some big ones already. We do need to commit to getting to some second situations, getting the ball to the weak side. That's probably our bigger area of focus going into Sunday. If he makes one of those, everybody's perspective is different. We understand that."

Yep. But when you're 6'11 and you leave yourself at the mercy of an open jump shot, there's a certain amount of criticism that comes with that. Especially when you have been drifting further and further away from the basket, as Bosh has done this postseason.

"Am I rethinking? No, I'm not rethinking," Bosh said. "I shot four of them (Thursday). I'm sure I'll be open again in Game 2. I'm probably going to shoot those. So, no."

Bosh was a little salty after losing Game 1, as were most of the Heat, but he maintained that he "fell into a coma-like sleep" afterward and that he was ready to play Game 2 as soon as Friday (if it was possible). Spoelstra also suggested that Bosh was the team's most important player, which was overcompensating because, you know, LeBron. But he did have a valid point.

"We still run much of our offense through him," Spoelstra said. "We need to get him in areas he can be aggressive and get paint catches. That will be one of the bigger areas of focus I'll have in the next two days."

Or, as James put it, "Wherever CB demands the ball in the post, we'll give it to him. We love when CB comes out because we know he's being aggressive. We need that paint attack from him."

And so there it is. Bad ankle or no, Bosh has become a mid-range jump shooter almost exclusively these days. Roughly a third of his postseason attempts have come inside of ten feet, which isn't the mix the Heat are looking for even if he is shooting a respectable percentage from outside.

"I believe in balance," Bosh said. "In my life I believe in balance. I have to put a lot of responsibility on myself to really mix it up more. I keep saying if I get an open shot I'm going to shoot it without thinking, but I want to continue to put a little bit more pressure on that rim and see what happens."

Asked how he sought balance in his life, Bosh replied, "It's all around. Everywhere. It's like, I'm around people today right now. I'm not going to not be around people a little later."

That seems like a wise strategy. A better one would be if he was surrounded by more people on Sunday, particularly in the painted area.


The Spurs rolled into their practice session a little after 1 p.m. giving them about 20 minutes to stretch and take some free throws. That was all they did on the floor. There wasn't a whole lot of basketball to discuss -- call it the winner's prerogative -- so it was time once again to dive into the Tao of Popology.

"I think oftentimes a team that wins a game gets too much credit for being really well‑executing and for having the energy and all that sort of thing." -Gregg Popovich
On their LeBron gameplan: "It's basketball. There's nothing tricky really about basketball. There are only so many things you can do."
On whether it was Tony Parker's team: "Well, we've never labeled it as someone's team. It's our team. It's not my team or Tim's team or Manu's team or Tony's team. It's our team."
On his team's fourth quarter execution: "I don't think we're as good as you say. We looked at the film today, and I thought we had just as many dry possessions as we had good ones. So, I think oftentimes a team that wins a game gets too much credit for being really well‑executing and for having the energy and all that sort of thing. If it's the losing team, you catch hell because you didn't execute this or that, or you ran out of gas or something. And I think both notions are probably misplaced."

On an incredibly random question about David Robinson that nobody else understood either: "I have no clue what your question is or what it means, so I'll just pass on it."

One thing that did stand out was when Popovich said basketball at this level "is a game of mistakes."

Reporters don't tend to think of things quite that way in our rush to assign equal doses of credit and blame, so I put it to Danny Green if that was how the team approached things philosophically.

"Definitely. Nobody's ever going to play a perfect game. As good as you do play, there's always something you can fix and everybody's going to make mistakes," Green said. "It's just how you bounce back from mistakes and how many you make. The team that makes the least mistakes has a better chance of winning."

Yes, but not everyone thinks that way.

"Well, Pop's a perfectionist," Green continued. "It was not a big adjustment because it was very similar to coach (Roy) Williams at North Carolina and even my high school coach. So, some guys have grown up with it and it's an adjustment for some players but I'm pretty used to it."

And we wonder why players like Green have fit so seamlessly. Perhaps, as Pop keeps suggesting, it's really not that complicated.


Other assorted picks and pops on a day when Tracy McGrady won the media session with his comeback when asked if he'd be ready to play: "Is pig p---y pork?":

Dwyane Wade offered the starkest take on postseason when he said, "Playoffs ain't fun, man. I'm sorry to bust anyone on the outside's bubble. As a player in the playoffs, you have no joy until it's over and you won. If you don't win, you have no joy for a while."

Needless to say, there was not much joy during the Heat session.

Tony Parker, on the other hand, has relished getting in sly digs at old man Tim Duncan. "At his age, 50, doing what he's doing is crazy." Good one, Tony! And he offered his take on what a Duncan statue would look like. "Looking mean. Something like that." Reporters would not disagree.

There was much talk about whether James would guard Parker more often in Game 2. Spoelstra's reponse: "Whatever it takes. That's my deal with LeBron. He understands. It's one through five. Depending on the matchup, wherever we need it. We have 14 days left. Whatever it takes."

Whatever it takes would not include spending 40 minutes on him, however. "That won't happen," the coach said.

In summation, it was only one game. Both teams need to make shots. The Spurs need to take care of the ball but realize they probably won't have a four-turnover game again in this series or in their lifetime. Bosh has to be better. James trusts his teammates. Reporters will spend the remaining off days trailing T-Mac for quotes.

More from SB Nation:

Tony Parker's miracle shot saves Spurs | GIF: So close!

How the Spurs beat the traps

Rodman: LeBron would have been average in 80s&90s

George Karl's legacy in Denver

NBA mock draft: Let's collaborate! | Scouting reports | Big Board

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