Miami Heat forward Chris Bosh limps up the court after injuring his leg during… (Michael Laughlin / (South…)
Writers from around the Tribune Co. discuss whether the Miami Heat can still win the NBA title without Chris Bosh, who is out indefinitely because of a strained abdominal muscle. Check back throughout the day for their responses and join the conversation by voting in the poll and leaving a comment of your own.
Ira Winderman, (South Florida) Sun Sentinel
Unlikely. The new NBA paradigm is the power of three, be it Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and James Harden in Oklahoma City, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and Tim Duncan with the Spurs, or even Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum and Kobe Bryant with the Lakers.
As the Heat found out in their Game 2 loss to the Pacers, two can be among the loneliest numbers in the playoff grinder. Even with some of the best of Dwyane Wade and LeBron James, it still wasn't enough to protect homecourt against Indiana.
The good news for the Heat is there is an increasing chance that Chris Bosh can make it back sooner rather than later. And that could yet be enough to push the Heat through the East, considering Boston's approach essentially has been reduced to Rajon Rondo and any remnants of their Big Three that are still ambulatory.
For the Heat, the greatest challenges long have been out West. Bosh's absence doesn't change that.
It just makes getting there that much more difficult.
Shannon J. Owens, Orlando Sentinel
Remember that brief period in time when commentators and media folks (including myself) talked about how deep the Miami Heat were?
Without Chris Bosh, the Heat are running on fumes. Bosh, once called the crouton on a Miami Heat salad by ESPN's Colin Cowherd, actually turned out to be the dressing. And boy, do the Heat ever need extra covering for Bosh’s missed offense.
Dwyane Wade and LeBron James are working overtime on defense and as evidenced by Game 2 against the Indiana Pacers, it’s affecting their offense. They need another third option to step up and score and help relieve the pressure. Mario Chalmers isn’t consistently giving the Heat what they need on offense and if Shane Battier and Mike Miller don’t start knocking down open shots the Heat are in big trouble.
The Heat will beat the Pacers even without Bosh. But their NBA title dreams are in serious danger without him.
[Updated at 1:35 p.m.:
Ben Bolch, Los Angeles Times
One of the problems of having a Big Three is that it means the rest of your roster is littered with little guys, at least in terms of NBA stature. The drop-off from injured Miami big man Chris Bosh to replacements Ronny Turiaf and Dexter Pittman is akin to going from a 747 jumbo jet to a prop plane.
There figures to be plenty of turbulence in the Heat's future without Bosh. Win an NBA title? The Heat aren't even going to get past the Indiana Pacers with the remnants of this roster. Turiaf scored a robust three points in Miami's Game 2 loss and the Heat bench contributed a not-so-grand total of 11 points.
Better luck in year three of the Big Three.
K.C. Johnson, Chicago Tribune
The Heat won't win the NBA title as long as Oklahoma City and San Antonio are still in the league. The NBA champion is coming out of the Western Conference. That becomes clearer with each low-scoring snoozefest played in the Eastern Conference.
LeBron James didn't do his late-game legacy any favors in the Game 2 home loss to the Indiana Pacers. And Dwyane Wade, while strong thus far, has been banged up enough this season to not be able to carry a team on his back anymore. Losing Chris Bosh in this series hurts as well since one of the Pacers' strengths is big man depth.
Miami still should exit this series and the conference. But ultimately, the Spurs and Thunder look too tough for the Heat. The Thunder's defensive length is underrated. The Spurs are deep and experienced. The Heat, especially without Bosh, lack depth and length, the latter of which is essential to win an NBA championship.]