David Butler II/US Presswire
The Heat are hoping to avoid frustration as their season hangs in the balance during Game 6.BOSTON -- Knowing that Miami's Chris Bosh will see an increased role in Thursday's Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals, Celtics coach Doc Rivers hit on the two areas that it affects Boston the most: 1) Kevin Garnett's ability to wander on defense and 2) Boston's ability to stick with a small lineup.
Rivers said the Celtics still want to allow Garnett the ability to float at times, particularly in order to help trap the likes of Dwyane Wade and LeBron James to prevent drives to the basket.
"We're using Kevin to be, I guess, like a safety at times," admitted Rivers. "We still have to do that, basically. That means, Bosh will be open -- we're just going to have to rotate more with other guys. Obviously, that weakens your defense, in some ways, but we have no choice, we have to do that. I think it's really important for the traps to continue by Kevin."
As for going with small lineups, something the Celtics have often done by pulling Brandon Bass off the floor and utilized another wing like Mickael Pietrus, Rivers doesn't think that will necessarily go away.
"The game will dicate it," he said. "We're going to go small at some point. I can guarantee you that. Bosh may be the only big at times for them on the floor. Even though he'll play more, there will be times when they put him at the 5 and have other guys like Battier and those guys at the 4, that still allows us to be small. I will not be surprised to see the (Udonis) Haslem-Bosh lineup on the floor more tonight, and then we'll have to make a choice, whether we want to stay big or try to go small and see what we have. I always think, at least for us, the game will dictate what we're going to do. We'll see."
During his time at the podium, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said Bosh still won't play his normal load.
"I don't think he'll be able to play his normal load, particularly at the pace, how competitive and how physical the series is," he said. "It probably won't be a normal rotation where you come in and play this amount of minutes, you sit for this amount of minutes, and you know you're going to sit that many. I would like to play him to the point where he's not quite to exhaustion, give him a break. It might be a shorter break than normal. Get him back in there. We might have to do that two or three times during the course of a half."
Spoelstra noted he won't be afraid of a Bosh-Garnett matchup.
"We're not afraid of matchups by any means, but he has to be guarded," said Spoelstra. "There's no question about it. You can't leave (Bosh) open and you can't roam when he's on the court."
Spoelstra tried hard to give off a cool and confident vibe, particularly with the way he ended his press conference and talking about his team in a do-or-die situation on the road.
"I love the group that we have," said Spoelstra. "I really do. I love looking in their eyes yesterday at the team meeting and seeing what's looking back at me, and even today's shootaround. These guys love these kind of moments. They don't like how we got to this moment, not at all. But they love these moments."