A strained abdominal muscle could keep Miami forward Chris Bosh on the bench… (Michael Laughlin / Sun Sentinel )
MIAMI — Heat forward Chris Bosh will travel with the team to Boston but will not play against the Celtics in Games 3 and 4 of the Eastern Conference finals.
Coach Erik Spoelstra said Bosh is traveling so he can continue working with team trainer Rey Jaffet and assistant coach Keith Askins. Bosh has missed the last seven playoff games because of a strained abdominal muscle.
Spoelstra said he is still unsure if Bosh will return this series.
"It's too early to tell right now," Spoelstra said. "I think we're all encouraged that he's actually able to do some work."
Bosh completed his fifth consecutive "rehab/basketball" workout Thursday at AmericanAirlines Arena. He sustained the injury May 13 in the first half against the Indiana Pacers in the second round.
The Heat is 6-1 in his absence, with LeBron James and Dwyane Wade picking up the scoring load. Guard Mario Chalmers has also contributed, averaging 15.5 points in the conference finals.
Before meeting the media, Spoelstra said he had just "peeled himself from" watching film of Rajon Rondo's epic performance in Game 2.
Even then, Spoelstra said he had yet to find an answer for better containing the Celtics guard.
"You have to find different ways," Spoelstra said.
"Each game is its own journey. A lot of times it doesn't play out how you plan it to and you just have to get hit on the ground, then pick yourself up and then find a way to win."
The surprising part of the 44-point performance by Rondo was most of it came from the perimeter. Rondo is not known for his outside shot, but he was 16 for 24 from the field and made both three-point attempts.
Many of his attempts were wide open because opponents usually give up the jump shot instead of allowing him to attack the basket.
"You have to take a step back, you have to watch the film a couple times," Spoelstra said.
"It's a dangerous thing. He's most dangerous when he's getting to the rim and obviously getting other people involved. You also don't just want to give him free-throw line, warmup shots."
Spoelstra ruled out the option of having Wade or James defend Rondo the entire game because they have other defensive responsibilities. James covers Celtics forward Paul Pierce while Wade tracks guard Ray Allen.
"You can't," Spoelstra said. "[Rondo] deserves the respect of multiple things. He's that smart. He'll figure it out. They also have a handful of other Hall of Famers that we have to deal with it as well. LeBron and Dwyane have to defend those guys."
No officiating talk
Celtics Coach Doc Rivers was somewhat critical of the officials after his team shot 18 fewer free throws than the Heat in Game 2.
James shot 24 free throws compared with Boston's 29, prompting Rivers to say "it is what it is." With the Heat now on the road, Spoelstra refused to get caught up in worrying about the officiating.
"You have different challenges on the road and at home," Spoelstra said. "I think they're all distractions. When we get caught up in that, we'll all become frustrated at some point the more you allow it to become a bigger issue."
Despite a 2-0 lead, Spoelstra said the team is just as focused as when the series began. The fact the core of the Celtics has played in the NBA Finals twice is more than enough motivation.
The Celtics were written off a couple times this season, yet are in the conference finals for the third time in five years.
"We talk about it, but we don't buy any of that," Spoelstra said. "All the labels that people are trying to throw on this team, forget about that. This is a championship team, they've proven themselves."
Spoelstra said he expects to stick with the same starting lineup despite center Joel Anthony playing most of the second half instead of Ronny Turiaf.
Turiaf played just five minutes.