Frank Vogel is confident that his Indiana Pacers can win Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals tonight against the Heat in Miami.
He has good reason to think so, given that his team narrowly lost in overtime in Game 1, thanks to Vogel’s controversial coaching decision. Since that game, Vogel’s big three — Paul George, Roy Hibbert and David West — have stepped up, while Miami’s Big Three is now LeBron James and four other dudes.
Chris Bosh, who has an ankle injury, has averaged only 11.3 points, 3.7 rebounds and 0.7 blocks on 41.1 percent shooting in the series. Dwyane Wade, with a knee injury, hasn’t scored 20 points since the first round of the playoffs.
“It’s hard, it’s difficult,” Bosh said after the Heat’s shootaround Monday (via ESPN). “Everything you’re going to do in the postseason is difficult. And you’re going to be put in situations you don’t want to be in and you’re going to have to do things that you don’t want to do. It’s part of it, so you might as well get used to it, being miserable and really loving it.”
Given his past performances in Game 7s, there’s no reason to think that this one won’t come down to James. In three Game 7s, he is averaging 34.3 points per game, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. That’s the highest scoring average, it says, for any player with multiple Game 7s and a stark contrast to Wade and Bosh.
“We can state the obvious: They’re both struggling,” James said Sunday. “Chris is struggling with his shot, and hurting his ankle didn’t help him. 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.”
James and Wade weren’t speaking to reporters after the shootaround.
“If you look at our best games, LeBron didn’t score 30 or 40 points,” Bosh said. “He probably had 20 points, 10 assists and 10 rebounds. That’s still a great game, but that just means the ball is moving and guys are being aggressive.”
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