|Published:||Jun 06, 2012 12:04 AM EDT|
|Updated:||Jun 06, 2012 6:31 AM EDT|
MIAMI (AP) - Chris Bosh has gone through his auditions. The Boston Celtics say they're ready either way.
It's now up to Heat coach Erik Spoelstra to decide if Bosh will play in Tuesday's Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals. The coach said it will be a game-time decision.
Bosh worked out with the Heat on Tuesday morning, hours before they were set to host the Celtics in a game that will put one team one win away from the NBA finals. The East title series is knotted at two games apiece and Bosh has missed nine games with a lower abdominal strain.
"It was encouraging this past week," Spoelstra said. "He's able to do some more activity on the court. The last two days he's been able to do real basketball work."
Bosh was going through a warmup session about 90 minutes before game time, Spoelstra said, adding that if Bosh plays he will not rejoin the starting lineup right away. If the Heat players knew the decision when they completed shootaround Tuesday, they weren't telling.
"He's looked great the last couple days that we've gotten to see him," said Heat forward LeBron James, the NBA's reigning MVP. "He looks comfortable with what we've been able to do. But I think we all know that a shootaround or a walk-through practice is totally different than game time."
Spoelstra said he would be in "constant communication" with members of the Heat medical staff throughout the day.
The Celtics won't be caught off-guard. Bosh has been in their scouting report since the series started.
"He's another big scoring threat for them, a guy who can really put up some good numbers on any given night," Celtics forward Paul Pierce said. "He stretches the floor with his shooting and he can drive the ball, so it's definitely something you've got to be aware of. ... If he plays, he plays. We'll have a game plan for him. If not, we'll go as we go."
Spoelstra said he wasn't worried about the notion that weaving Bosh back into the rotation, especially with the stakes this high, would be a problem. And Celtics coach Doc Rivers said he didn't think Miami would struggle with that, either.
Rivers said if the Celtics had a situation where Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen or Rajon Rondo had missed time but could play in a Game 5 of a tied-up playoff series, it'd be an easy call.
"I would do it. I think I would always do it," Rivers said. "I mean, listen, if Kevin, Paul, Ray, Rondo were out and they could play tonight and they hadn't played, I'd play 'em. I wouldn't even hesitate. I don't think really coaches hesitate on that. And number one, Bosh hasn't been out that long. It's not like he's been out two months and he's just coming back. He's missed, what, seven, eight games, nine games? That's not that long."
Bosh got hurt late in the first half of Game 1 of the Indiana-Miami second round series on May 13. He did not play in the second half of that game, and in the nine postseason games since, Miami has gone 5-4.
Bosh averaged 18 points and 7.9 rebounds in the regular season. He averaged 14.7 points and 6.8 rebounds in six playoff games before getting hurt.