Photo: Getty Images/Ronald Martinez
With Chris Bosh out, the Miami Heat lost a very ugly game to the Indiana Pacers Tuesday night, 78-75.Losing to the Pacers by only three points should be encouraging for Miami, seeing as they were only a few late game mistakes from pulling this one out.
But the biggest issue with the Heat’s loss is that it exposed one major flaw in their game: Miami CAN’T rebound.
The Pacers out rebounded the Heat 50 to 40 Tuesday night.
Miami took the rebounding margin 45-38 in Game 1 even though Bosh only played 16 minutes.
In the three regular season games Bosh sat out due to injury, Miami was out-rebounded by an average of 7 rebounds per game. The rest of the season the Heat normally out-rebounded opponents by about 2 rebounds per game. (Bosh also didn’t play in six games at the end of the season, but that was in order to rest him for the playoffs.)
The Heat went 1-2 in those three regular season games, so their overall record with Bosh sitting out with an injury is 1-3 this year.
Yes, even with Bosh in the lineup Miami is a poor rebounding team (21st in the league in rebounds per game) and it’s mainly due to how few offensive rebounds they have because of how well they’ve shot the ball this year.
As the four games Bosh has sat out have proved, however, having Bosh out of the lineup gives opposing teams the rebounding edge and keeps the game closer.
The Heat are a juggernaut, i.e. they still have LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, so keeping it close is probably the only way opposing teams can pull out a W.
Miami will likely get through Indiana, even if it ends up being tougher than they expected.
The bigger issue is how long Bosh is out and how effective he can be upon returning.
An NBA Finals date with either the Oklahoma City Thunder, Los Angeles Lakers, or San Antonio Spurs would be a huge problem with Bosh out of the lineup or ineffective. All three of those Western Conference teams rank among the top 10 teams in rebounding.
Oh and there are also offensive problems the Heat face with Bosh out (via SB Nation): Miami averages nearly 9 points fewer per 100 possessions when Bosh isn’t on the floor.
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