Haslem playing his game, not Bosh’s
If nothing else, this Eastern Conference semifinal series against the Indiana Pacers has allowed Miami Heat forward Udonis Haslem to return to his roots.
His shooting percentage off the entire season, Haslem said he got too caught up in stepping into Chris Bosh’s role rather than playing to his own strength.
As the Heat does with Bosh, Haslem had spent most of the season rolling to the basket after setting screens, only to find his undersized options limited at the rim.
But in this series against the Pacers, which the Heat lead 3-2 after Tuesday’s 115-83 victory at AmericanAirlines Arena, Haslem has instead flared off screens for the mid-range jumpers that had been his trademark prior to Bosh’s arrival.
He said he now is encouraged moving forward.
“Pick and pop has really been my game the majority of my career,” Haslem said after shooting 5 of 6 Tuesday. “So instead of rolling to the basket, with those trees down there, I just flared back by like I usually do. I’m more comfortable doing that than anything.”
Haslem said team leaders LeBron James and Dwyane Wade told him to get back to being himself, rather than some type of stand-in for Bosh, who is sidelined indefinitely with a lower-abdominal strain.
“D-Wade and ‘Bron just told me to play my game, pick and pop,” he said. “I’ve been rolling to the basket all year, and that’s really not comfortable to me.”
Haslem is playing with nine stitches above his right eye, after being cut in Game 4. He said his blood moment was motivational.
“Certain people, when they see their own blood, they go a little crazy,” Wade said. “I actually liked it when I saw the blood dripping down.”
As for Bosh, the party line is that there is no timetable for a return,
“He’s out indefinitely,” James said, when asked if he thought Bosh could somehow come to the rescue this postseason. “It’s not like we’ve moved on, but guys are stepping up.”
For now, Bosh has been limited to non-court rehabilitation work.
“He’s doing his rehab,” coach Erik Spoelstra said of running into Bosh in the training room. “He had a smile on his face. He’s doing some work. He’s not even near any court work right now.”