The diminished play of Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade drew a wisecrack from TNT commentator Reggie Miller during the Heat's 91-77 loss to the Pacers in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals on Saturday.
"We're watching the Miami Cavaliers right now, playing this series," Miller said shortly after halftime, with the Heat trailing 44-42.
The reference, of course, was to LeBron James' weaker supporting casts during his time in Cleveland, which stretched from 2003 to 2010 and included a trip to the 2007 Finals. The 2013 MVP made a similar reference after Miami's Game 5 win, in which he scored 16 points in the third-quarter to push the Heat to the victory.
"I kind of just went back to my Cleveland days at that point," James said. "Let's try to make more plays and be more of a scoring threat as well, and just try to figure out a way that I can ‑‑ I don't know, just see if the guys would just follow me, and just lead them the best way I could. I was just in attack mode in the third quarter, look for my shot. And luckily I was able to make some."
James finished Game 5 with 30 points, eight rebounds and six assists, Wade had just 10 points and six rebounds, and Bosh added seven points and five rebounds. The situation was even more dire in Game 6. James finished with 29 points, seven rebounds and six assists, Wade had 10 points and two rebounds, and Bosh closed with five points and four rebounds. Wade has been dealing with ongoing pain in his right knee while Bosh recently sprained his right ankle.
"I mean, we can state the obvious, they're both struggling," James said of Wade and Bosh. "Chris is struggling with his shot, and him hurting his ankle didn't help him a lot as well. I think he will find it. He will find it. It's my job as a leader to keep him motivated, to let him know how important he is to our movement, to our chances of returning to The Finals."
ESPN.com reported post-game reaction from Wade and Bosh.
"We've got to do a good job of making sure me and Chris have our opportunities to succeed throughout the game," Wade said. "That's something we're going to have to look at as a team."
"I'm really disappointed in myself," Bosh said. "It's not been going my way this whole series. I want to play better. I will play better. I have to play better in Game 7. It's as simple as that."
Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said he planned to continue to support Wade and Bosh and took the blame for their struggles.
"They're our brothers," he said. "We're all behind them. If anything, it's on me. I got to find ways to get those guys comfortable in areas where they can be aggressive. And that will be my focus the next 48 hours. They're obviously a major part of what we do, and I need to find a way to get them in places where they can be really aggressive. Now Game 7, adversity and backs against the wall, I know those two men's character. This is when they come up big in these moments."
The Heat and Pacers are now tied at three games apiece. Game 7 is Monday in Miami.