After a disastrous game three without big man Chris Bosh in the lineup, out with a rib injury, Miami has hit its stride in its second round Eastern Conference playoff series against the formidable and determined Indiana Pacers. The Heat controlled the tempo in Sunday’s game four, with LeBron James and Dwayne Wade dominating and Udonis Haslem stepping up and playing extremely well in the interior.
Tuesday’s game five saw more of the same, as James scored 30, Haslem shot 5-6 from the field and Miami corralled 14 more rebounds than Indiana in a 22-point win at home. That does beg the question: Would the Miami Heat be better off the rest of the season without Chris Bosh in the lineup? For old time’s sake, I promise it’s still timely, here’s an article I wrote about Bosh one year ago today. How much has changed? You’ll be the judge…
Bosh’s Bullish Performance Highlights An Inconsistent Season
In a season that seems like it’s lasted an eternity for the Miami Heat and its fans, both the high and low points of Chris Bosh’s seasons have both been against the Chicago Bulls. On Sunday, Bosh improbably gave Miami a 2-1 series lead with a 96-85 win after playing some of his worst ball this season against the same Chicago team.
In three games against Chicago during the regular season, Bosh averaged 15.7 points and 6.3 rebounds per game, well below his 18.7 and 8.3 averages. He was certainly not living up to the expectations placed on him when Miami acquired him and pundits began calling the team “The Big 2 1/2″ well before Charlie Sheen jokes were en vogue.
The Heat and the Bulls were both big winners in the free agency sweepstakes Decision bonanza of last summer and were considered the favorites, along with Eastern Conference mainstays Boston and Orlando, to reach the NBA Finals. After a couple of bumpy losing streaks along the way, Miami was 42-15 just after the All-Star break, battling Boston for the top spot in the conference. Their only problem was that they could not beat elite teams like the Celtics, Lakers or Bulls.
On February 24, a Thursday night right after the most eventful trading deadline in at least several years, Chicago handed Miami a frustrating 93-89 loss. Blame for that loss fell squarely on Bosh’s large shoulders. Bosh was a distant third in the Heat’s version of the Big Three, the LeBron James, Dwayne Wade, Bosh triumphant troika. His demeanor often seemed awkward and passive and he had games where he would make little impact and vanish in the box scores. Miami wished the latter had happened on that Thursday.
Bosh shot a historically bad 1-18 from the field in that four-point defeat, the worst shooting night for a player with at least 18 shots since the 1972-1973 season. The next day, Chicago Sum-Times writer Dan Cahill astutely pointed out that “you have to be a pretty good player because your coach has to have confidence in you to stay in the game, and your teammates have to have faith in you to keep feeding you the ball.”
Miami never lacked confidence in Bosh despite his occasional sub par performances. That confidence paid off nearly three months to the day of the worst performance in Bosh’s NBA career. Coincidentally, or perhaps not, Miami had to get past the same Chicago team that had given them the most problems during the regular season to reach the NBA Finals, where the Heat had to go to reach their extraordinarily lofty expectations.
Coincidentally, or perhaps not, Bosh’s best game of the season came against the Bulls in a crucial game three that Miami would probably have lost during the regular season. Mainstays James and Wade were off their games, shooting a combined 12-30 for 39 points. When two of the best players in the league don’t even combined for 40, the opposition usually has at least a decent chance to win. But this was the night the oft-passive Bosh chose to assert himself, prove his value and carry his team to an important playoff win.
Bosh showed incredible range on his shot, going 13-15 for 34 points after missing his first three shots from the field in Miami’s 96-85 game three win that kept the Heat undefeated at home in this postseason. In an interesting twist of fate, something that seemed nearly impossible three months ago, Bosh is the scoring leader in the Eastern Conference Finals.
“C-B had it going,” James said after Sunday’s win. “When we have someone going on our team, we continue to go to him.”
Against the team Bosh had his worst game against, he is now playing his best basketball. After dismal averages against Chicago in three regular season games, Bosh is averaging 24.7 points per game in the postseason. Perhaps Bosh and the Heat will live up to those expectations after all.
Most players see their coaches and probably think, “hell, I can do that.” Some players got a chance to prove they have the chops to coach. Some have succeeded and some have failed spectacularly. This post focuses on the latter.
The Worst NFL Coaches
Rich Kotite- After an unremarkable playing career, Kotite had a good start as the coach of he Eagles, but then went to the Jets and was considered one of the worst ever. He followed up a 3-13 season in 1995 with a 1-15 campaign in 1996. He never coached again.
Lane Kiffin- Oakland made him the youngest coach, 31, in team history and he went 4-12 in 2007. Late owner Al Davis tried to get Kiffin to resign but he would not. On September 30, 2008 Davis fired Kiffin over the phone and they went to court to settle on the salary. Davis won, baby.
Marty Mornhinweg- He played in the arena league and was eventually hired by the Detroit Lions in 2001. He lasted two seasons, going 2-14 and 3-13 during the Lions’ dark days. He hasn’t received a head coaching job since.
The Worst NBA Coaches
Isiah Thomas- One of the best point guards in history, Thomas was a really bad coach. He made the playoffs three times in as many seasons with Indiana, but the Pacers were built to win titles. Then he went to the Knicks. He was the general manager, made a slew of terrible trades, went 56-108 in two seasons, lost the Knicks a sexual harrassment lawsuit and is one of the most hated figures in New York sports history.
Dick Vitale- He’s a great college basketball analyst. But as an NBA coach? Awful, baby! He went 30-52 in his first season with the Pistons and then after starting the 1980-1981 season 4-8, late owner Bill Davidson went to Vitale’s house and fired him. At least Vitale has had a great career in broadcasting.
Elgin Baylor- Another Hall of Famer who was a bad coach and executive, Baylor coached the New Orleans Jazz for three years, compiling an 86-135 record. Then he was the GM of the Clippers for 22 years, and LA won one playoff series during that span.
The Worst MLB Managers
Alan Trammell- Once again, another great player who was an incredibly bad skipper. After playing with the Detroit Tigers for so long, they gave him a shot at manager. Bad choice. In three seasons, he went 186-300 including a 43-119 season in 2003.
Joe Quinn- Quinn played for St. Louis in the Union Association in 1884 and started managing in 1895. He went 11-28 with the St. Louis Browns in 1895 and then managed the Cleveland Spiders in 1899, who went a historically bad 12-104.
The Worst NHL Coaches
Wayne Gretzky- The greatest player of all time wasn’t so great as a coach. In fact, he was downright horrible. Between 2005 and 2009, the Phoenix Coyotes never finished better than fourth in its division under The Great One, and never hade more than 83 points in a season under Gretzky’s stewardship.
Barry Melrose- Like this year’s Los Angeles Kings, Melrose’s 1992-1993 version was a low seeded team that ended up making the Stanley Cup Finals. Of course, having Gretzky on your side certainly helps. After that season, things went downhill for The Mullet. LA only had 66 points the next season and Melrose was fired midway through the 1994-1995 campaign. Melrose went to ESPN until the Tampa Bay Lightning brought him back to the bench for the 2008-2009 season, only to fire him 16 games into the season.