Heat role players rise to occasion
by Sam Amick, USA TODAY Sports
SAN ANTONIO — When Chris Bosh roared, Mike Miller leaped and players like Rashard Lewis and Udonis Haslem pumped their proud fists on the AT&T Center floor Sunday night, it was tempting to question how the Miami Heat could be so boorish in the moments that followed their 88-86 win over the San Antonio Spurs.
Here was the Heat’s B-team, acting as if this were an actual NBA Finals game and not just the possible preview that so many came to see. Elite opponent or not, tough environment and all, undermanned status being what it was with LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Mario Chalmers sitting out, this was not a team acting as if it had been there before. But as had been the case all night, here was Bosh leading the way with a well-timed contribution, this time in the form of perspective.
“We’re the defending champs no matter who we put out there — we’re still the Miami Heat,” said Bosh, whose three-pointer from atop the key with 1.1 seconds left was the game-winner. “We believe in ourselves. Each one of these guys are professionals. We played bigger roles in other cities, but we came together and accepted lesser roles to win the championship here. But we can still tap into that and just go out there and get the job done.”
As problems go, this is as good as it gets. But it’s a problem nonetheless, one that became less of one in a win that very well might have improved the Heat’s already-phenomenal chances at repeating. Too much talent means — Heat family motto and all — this is not an “Ohana” situation here. Somebody always gets left behind.
Ray Allen. Joel Anthony. Udonis Haslem. Lewis. Miller. The list of players who have sacrificed their normal basketball lives in order to be a part of this team and win in the shadows of greats like James and Wade is long. Bosh deals with it to a different degree, playing a major role but relinquishing the alpha-dog role he had for so many years in Toronto.