Bosh regaining strength, confidence in legs

MIAMI -- Before the playoffs started, Miami Heat forward Chris Bosh anticipated it would take two or three games to regain the conditioning and rhythm he lost while sitting out the final two weeks of the regular season with nagging leg injuries.

As the Heat headed to New York on Wednesday with a 2-0 series lead against the Knicks, Bosh said he's progressing right along schedule entering Game 3 on Thursday night.

"I'm feeling good," Bosh said after practice at AmericanAirlines Arena. "That last game was better for me. I can still get better in some aspects. But progression is there."

Bosh struggled with his timing and stamina in the series opener, and finished with nine points, six rebounds and two turnovers in 24 minutes during Saturday's 100-67 victory. It was his first game action since an April 16 win in New Jersey in which he had 22 points and 15 rebounds. Bosh was then held out of the final six games of the regular season with what the team first said was muscle fatigue in his legs but later clarified as a right hamstring strain.

Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said he would gradually increase Bosh's playing time over the course of the series. After some initial sluggishness in Game 1, Bosh came back with 21 points on 7-of-12 shooting from the field in 31 minutes during the Heat's 104-94 Game 2 win Monday. Bosh said Wednesday his legs are gradually starting to respond but that he still doesn't have quite the lift he hopes to regain as he plays his way into playoff shape. His rebounding numbers are still well below expectation; he has just 10 total rebounds through the first two games of the series.

Bosh's production could continue to climb in Game 3 on Thursday, with the Knicks not expected to have Amare Stoudemire available because of a hand injury he sustained in punching a fire extinguisher case in frustration following Monday's loss.

The last time Bosh played at Madison Square Garden, he had one of his best games of the season, with 16 points and 14 rebounds during an April 15 win against the Knicks. New York was also without Stoudemire in that game.

So Bosh, who averaged 18 points and 7.9 rebounds per game during the season, believes he'll be ripe for a breakout performance soon should he continue to gain confidence and strength in his legs.

"As long as I'm feeling good, I can get in better condition, and it's going to get better as the playoffs go on," Bosh said. "I don't want to be at my peak yet. I want to play hard on every single possession. But at the same time, I want to be peaking at the right time."