Heat on Bosh to defend

Miami Heat forward Chris Bosh dunks the ball against the Milwaukee Bucks. (REUTERS/Joe Skipper)

Miami Heat forward Chris Bosh dunks the ball against the Milwaukee Bucks. (REUTERS/Joe Skipper)

FRANK ZICARERLLI, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:43 AM ET

The Heat is on, but for reasons that often go overlooked by those who strictly follow the amount of wins Miami is mounting at a record clip.

Itís hard to believe the mavens who inhabit the me-first world had the temerity to suggest the three-headed monster of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh was doomed for failure in South Beach, in part, according to these self-anointed experts, because ego and agenda would supersede everything else.

But what the public fails to realize is that these idiots are merely attempting to grab attention, which is only achieved by making ridiculously stupid assertions that are completely baseless.

As expected, Miami began the year out of sync and looking vulnerable, the byproduct of not playing together for an extended stretch, which was exacerbated by D-Wadeís pre-season hamstring injury.

But glance at the standings and one will see Miami with 30 wins, a total matched only by the San Antonio Spurs, who were life and death to beat the lowly Minnesota Timberwolves on Sunday.

On the same night, the Heat continued its sizzling road exploits with a riveting overtime win in Portland, where Miamiís Big Three combined to score 96 of the teamís 107 points.

For those counting, Miami has now won 13 straight games on the road, inching closer to the NBA record of 16 away wins in succession set by the 1971-72 Lakers.

With games against the Clippers, Nuggets and Bulls looming, thereís a chance Miami will tie the mark.

If the Heat is able to reel off three more on the road, where it has required overtime in its two latest conquests, Bosh will have to step up defensively.

Say what you want about Bosh, the former face of the Raptors franchise, and his impact playing alongside two legitimate franchise players in LBJ and Flash.

Bosh isnít going to post the numbers he averaged in Toronto because the offence doesnít run through him. As a result, itís not likely heíll be asked to play in next monthís all-star game after being selected five times as a Raptor.

But as he showed in Sundayís win over the Blazers, Bosh will drain key jumpers to complement James and Wade.

But what Bosh also showed, which is the most troublesome aspect to his game, is the lack of a shut-down defence when matched up against a top-tier power forward.

No team can match up against Miamiís two wings in James and Wade, who took a combined 48 shots from the field at the Rose Garden to score 78 points.

While Miami has played well defensively, its Achilles heal remains its inability to defend the interior, which takes on added significance in the post-season.

And that is where Bosh simply must improve.

LaMarcus Aldridge, who was matched up against Bosh, became the first player since Shaquille OíNeal accomplished the feat in 2004 to post his fifth straight game of posting at least 25 points and 10 rebounds, averages never before recorded in Portland franchise history.

Blake Griffin is up next for Bosh as Miami takes its road act to Los Angeles on Wednesday.

If Griffin isnít already the NBAís elite power forward in this his first year, there arenít many playing at a higher level at his position.

Denver is so distracted by the Melo trade talk that Miamiís visit to the Mile High City should result in a win on Thursday, but then comes a tip in Chicago on Saturday and a Bosh matchup with Carlos Boozer.

Having won 21 of its last 22 games, the Heat is on.

But more than anything, the Heat is on Bosh to defend his position better.

AROUND THE RIM

Under the department of silly comes word that the Cavs have changed their travel arrangements in Los Angeles to avoid James, whose Heat had booked rooms at the same swanky hotel ... Want to know why Gregg Popovich is the NBAís best head coach? Consider his benching of starting point guard Tony Parker for the gameís final 6:14 on Sunday when Parker failed to take a charge on Luke Ridnour. In Popís world, there are no short cuts and no excuses not to defend ... The news continues to get worse for the sad-sack Cavs, who face the real possibility of being without Anderson Varejao (foot) for the rest of the season. Byron Scott succeeded Mike Brown as head coach knowing full well LeBron could walk in the off-season. ďIíve got to keep coaching,Ē Scott said. ďIíve got to keep these guys playing hard and competing. I get to find out a lot about some of our young players.Ē The Cavs have lost 10 in a row, a number this is certain to swell as Cleveland continues its five-game road trip with a tip against the Lakers on Tuesday.


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