Coach Erik Spoelstra on Monday did not dispute ESPN''s report that the Heat plans to activate Chris Bosh for Tuesday's Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals, barring a setback. But Spoelstra said, "It's premature to say he will definitely play.''
But using Bosh Tuesday is clearly the goal, and the Heat is optimistic about that happening - provided everything goes well the next two days, which obviously is not guaranteed with an injury of this nature.
In fact, Spoelstra changed Bosh's status from "indefinite" to "day to day" and said, "He's making significant progress."
Bosh has missed nine games since suffering an abdominal strain May 13 but has been able to move laterally well the past few days - a key in returning from this type of injury.
"I'll continue to make my evaluations," Spoelstra said. "To say it's definitive [for Tuesday] is premature. Each day is a new evaluation. He had three good workouts in Boston. Reality is it's not a normal situation. Everything is heightened. If he doesn't play, it's not a setback.
"He'll get a vote. Everyone will be involved in the decision if and when it happens. You always have to take players' decision with a grain of salt. He said he was ready 10 days ago."
Spoelstra planned to watch Bosh in workouts on Monday and Tuesday. He said he will be looking at Bosh's "conditioning" and "comfort level."
Spoelstra said it was too early to say whether Bosh would start in his first game back.
People around Bosh are optimistic. Around Bosh, the hope originally was that Bosh could return for game 6 or 7, with everybody feeling confident about the NBA Finals. But that potential timetable has moved up because of his progress over the weekend.
"Time to get back to work," Bosh's wife, Adrienne, tweeted this morning, without elaborating.
His wife also re-tweeted the ESPN report about Bosh potentially playing Tuesday and added, "staying positive."
### Spoelstra dismissed Rajon Rondo's comments that the Celtics were able to capitalize in transition because the Heat was complaining about referee calls... Spoelstra said not using Mike Miller in the second half of Game 4 was a lineup decision - not a health decision related to Miller's sore back. He said Miller will play in Game 5.
### On the slow starts, Spoelstra said: "We have to get into the fight earlier. It's the effort and energy and all that right from the get go."... "if you're not getting great opportunities in the open court, you're not going to get clean looks."
### For those who missed ESPN’s postgame show, Magic Johnson and Jon Barry blamed Erik Spoelstra in part on the failed final play of regulation. “I don’t know what that was,” Johnson said. “Bad offense. Spoelstra should have had both Mike Miller and James Jones in to have shooters... so a shooter would have gotten it instead of Haslem." Jones was in the game, but Miller was not.
### Said Jon Barry: “This is [on] Spoelstra – the inability of this team to get quality shots late in games. It's ridiculous. I don’t understand what they ran. It’s mind-boggling to me this long to have two of the best players in the game and not get quality shots.”
### And then there was this from Magic: "The Miami Heat is in trouble in Game 5."
### NBA TV’s Brent Barry said one difference is the Heat has uncertainty about what to run late in games and the Celtics “know exactly what they can run, who they can run plays to. And if those options close down, they know where they can go to?”
### The Heat is now 0-for-7 this postseason on shots to try to tie the game or take the lead in the final 24 seconds of regulation or overtime. Wade is 0 for 3, James 0 for 2, Udonis Haslem 0 for 1 and Mario Chalmers 0 for 1. According to ESPN, the other 15 playoff teams have shot 4 for 26 on shots in those scenario.
### Spoelstra, on the last play in overtime – a missed three-pointer by Wade: “There were a couple different layers. We were looking to see if we could get a cheap one. If not, it was going to come back to Dwyane, what you saw, a pick and roll with Shane Battier. It was a clean look. Pretty much all you could ask for at that point. You give yourself a chance to win it.”
### Spoelstra said the last play of regulation - a missed and rushed Udonis Haslem jumper off a pass from James - was supposed to be “for LeBron on the run. The play broke down. So he had to put the ball on the floor and make a play. He had to pass it over a 7-6 guy [Kevin Garnett, who is 6-11 but with a big wingspan]. So it wasn’t a clean pass [to Udonis Haslem].
### Other thoughts from Spoelstra: “The way we came out in the first half, we weren't as committed as we can be."... "Dwyane is attacking. You have to give that defense credit. It’s not like you’re always going to get clean looks…. It’s not a coincidence I’m increasing Udonis Haslem’s minutes. It’s fluid as we’re going…. We feel good about the second half. We think we can play better. This series is as unconventional as any series I’ve been a part of, both teams making adjustments game to game. We’re reinventing ourselves daily…. Norris Cole sparked us, gave us some energy.”
### James, who fouled out for the first time in a playoff game and for the first time overall as a member of the Heat: "It was very tough [playing through foul trouble]. I thought a few of my fouls were [pause].... I don't know. I don't know. I got a double foul in the paint, another foul posting up in transition. I don't know. It's very difficult because I know how to play the game of basketball. I don't need an advantage to hold someone down... If I'm going to foul out, I wish I would have earned it and it would actually have been a foul on me.... I know how to play the game of basketball." James fouled out with 1:51 left in overtime, while trying to post up Mickael Pietrus.
### James, on Spoelstra changing his starting lineup multiple times, including again in Game 4: "It's been like that the last two years, guys in and out of the lineup. At times, it's difficult to work with that, but we've got to figure it out. Whoever is starting has to make plays. I thought U.D. was amazing tonight... We've got to come out with a sense of urgency. Last two games, they have come out and hit us hard. It has been an uphill battle the last two games. Nobody said it's easy. It's great basketball. We didn't come into the series thinking we were going to sweep them. This is what the playoffs are all about."
### James, on the last play of regulation: "I had one-on-one until K.G. came and decided to double the ball. I dribbled the ball middle, and I saw U.D. circle underneath. KG got a hand on my wrist when I tried to make the pass to U.D. We didn't get off a good look." Said Haslem: "When I didn't get a clean pass, timing was bad, and I had to force up a shot."
### Wade, on missing the final shot of overtime: "It was on line. That's all your can ask. It just decided it wasn't going to go in tonight."
### More Wade, who shot 7 of 22: "I got a lot of good looks, more than the last game. Coach did a good job, I got the ball in certain areas. I felt good."... He said falling behind by so much early - and then needing to rally - "takes too much out of you."... "We put ourselves in position to win the game. Just a few things didn't go right for us."... In the second half, "I guess we decided to play some defense. They were carving us up early in the game. Nobody is beating the Celtics when they have that many people being effective" as they were in the first half.
### Doc Rivers, on the Heat trapping Rajon Rondo in the second half: "Give them credit. We ignited them the way we played the first six minutes of the third quarter. Then their defensive energy took the game over. They were wonderful.... We have yet to put a 48-minute game together."
### Mario Chalmers, on the last shot of overtime: "Usually that's a shot [Wade] makes. We can't ask for a better look."
### Haslem had 17 rebounds in 36 minutes; Battier had none in 42 minutes. In the first half, "we weren't playing hard enough," Haslem said. "We made a commitment to one another" to change that.... Going back home, "I feel good, I feel confident."
### Rajon Rondo closed with 15 points and 15 assists. He raised eyebrows at halftime when ESPN asked him what the Celtics were exploiting, and he said, "Them crying and complaining to the refs in transition."