BOSTON — Neither Heat coach Erik Spoelstra or center/forward Chris Bosh would commit to a starting lineup but Bosh said he expects to play a larger role in Thursday night’s Game 6.
Bosh returned from injury on Tuesday for the Heat’s loss to the Celtics in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals but played just 15 minutes and watched from the bench during the fourth quarter. He doesn’t expect that to be the case in Game 6. After the Heat’s morning shootaround, Bosh said he will be playing without any minute restrictions from trainers and is looking forward to “a huge opportunity to just play basketball.”
“It’s put up or shut up,” Bosh said. “[Trainers] have been asking me how I feel and I say whatever it takes. There is no tomorrow right now, so we have to play like it.”
If Bosh starts at center, he will be the Heat’s fourth starting center this series and fifth of the playoffs. Countering Celtics center Kevin Garnett, who has dominated the paint in the series, will be Bosh’s focus.
“[Garnett] has been doing a great job of just roaming around and messing up our offense,” Bosh said. “I have to do my best to keep him honest. I know they’re going to stick with their game plan and that’s going to force me to knock down some shots.
“I have to be aggressive. I’m going to have open looks and I’m going to knock them down.”
Bosh said he felt better than expected after returning from his abdominal strain for Game 5. He missed nine straight games.
“I feel good,” Bosh said. “The mood is a winning mood. We understand what our job is tonight and it’s really a little better for me because it’s a no-excuse game. We have to go out there and do whatever we have to do to win the game.”