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Heat Vs. Celtics, Game 7: Chris Bosh Likely To Come Off Bench Again

With a trip to the 2012 NBA Finals on the line, both the Boston Celtics and Miami Heat will use everything in their arsenal at AmericanAirlines Arena on Saturday night. Chris Bosh will be active for just the third time since he strained an abdominal muscle nearly a month ago in the Conference Semifinals. He had an immediate impact in his return for Game 5, scoring nine points and grabbing five offensive boards in the first half. But Bosh was hobbled and slow to rotate on defense, and Erik Spoelstra opted to hold him out for much of the second half, as he logged just 14 minutes.

Spoelstra took plenty of fire for playing Bosh so sparingly in Game 5, and the power forward saw his minutes double when Miami staved off elimination in Game 6. Bosh played 28 minutes in another bench role. As expected, he'll be active for the decisive Game 7 but he'll likely come off the bench again, a role that doesn't seem to bother him. Via the AP:

"I think it'll be irrelevant for as long as we're playing," Bosh said Saturday when asked if the start-or-not issue affects him. "It really doesn't matter for me. I just want to be out there and as long as I get to play, it doesn't matter. I think we have a good thing going right now and I'll continue to come off the bench as long as it's good. I'm going to have my time out there with certain lineups and that's not going to change my approach and how I do things."

Spoelstra said he would not reveal his starting lineup until just before tip-off, but he's been happy with the rotation that features Bosh off the bench. The Heat coach went with an extremely small frontcourt lineup in Game 6, starting Udonis Haslem, Shane Battier and LeBron James along the front line. Bosh checked in at the five and a half minute mark, but unless LeBron completely takes over early again, the power forward could enter the game sooner and will likely be without a minutes restriction in the winner-take-all Game 7.

For more updates on Game 7, stick with this StoryStream. For more on the Heat, head over to Peninsula Is Mightier and SB Nation Tampa Bay. For more on the Celtics, check out CelticsBlog and SB Nation Boston.