LOS ANGELES — Dwyane Wade’s math wasn’t far off.
Following the Heat’s holiday victory against the Lakers, Wade noted in the post-game locker room that Chris Bosh “had 13 shots at halftime, and he’s averaging 12” per game. Wade was being generous.
Entering Wednesday’s game, Bosh was actually averaging 10.5 attempts from the field while he plodded through his annual early season course of adapting to an offense featuring two of the best shot makers in the league. This has always been the difficult task assigned to Bosh with the Heat, and his ability to riff and freestyle off of James and Wade and still remain a significant offensive force has long been undervalued.
Now settled into the flow of the offense once again, Bosh spoke of a commitment to maintaining his offensive output last week and that pledge played out in the second quarter against the Lakers.
Bosh started the game 0 of 6 from the field. Earlier in the season, such a string of misses might have curbed Bosh’s aggressiveness. Undeterred on Christmas, Bosh kept finding rifts in the Lakers defense and, finally, got some shots to fall in the second quarter. He finished the game 9 of 12 from the field for 23 points.
LeBron James credited Bosh’s surge in offense to his commitment to rebounding. He had 11 rebounds against the Lakers.
“He was rebounding and that gets him going,” James said. “That activates him.”
Said Bosh of the adjustment between the first and second quarters: “There were no speeches. There were no big-time changes or anything. I just went with the flow of he game and just stayed wit it.
“I thought about where my spots would be. I got a couple good shots in the first quarter, just missed them. After that I just made an effort to get to the basket a little more and I worked out for me.”
After beginning the season averaging 18.5 points through the first six games, Bosh’s numbers dipped drastically through November and the beginning of December. By the 19th game of the season, a victory at the Timberwolves’ Pepsi Center, Bosh’s points-per-game average had dipped below 14. He scored eight points against Minnesota despite Kevin Love missing the game.
Since then, Bosh has scored in double figures in every game, and he has only shot below .500 once. He is now averaging 15.1 points per game.
During the Heat’s six-game winning streak, Bosh is shooting 57.1 percent from the field while attempting an average of 14 shots per game. And the majority of his shots have come from close range.
In the last six games, Bosh is 33 of 45 from (73.3 percent) on shots within five feet of the basket. During that stretch, Bosh is 12 of 24 (50 percent) from 15-19 feet. That kind of offensive mix has been by design.
“There’s no question that his aggressiveness can be a catalyst to our energy,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said of Bosh. “He has really started being more aggressive in getting to the rim, making himself available for those catches deep for layups, dunks, put backs — all that stuff that he has been doing the last few games.
“It just sparks our guys. Everyone knows what to do from there.”