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Sacrifice Turns Into Strength For Bosh

He placed that request with the players and also his coaching staff after the Heat fell in The Finals to the Dallas Mavericks in 2011. That forced guys like LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh to do some self-examination and find a weakness and turn it into a strength or find something they hadnt done much of and turn into a staple.

For James, it was about asserting himself and becoming the leader of this crew. For Wade, it was about learning how to defer to another superstar (or two, when needed), something foreign to his system as the lone superstar here before James and Bosh showed up. And for Bosh, it became about expanding his game and becoming the positionless big man Spoelstra needed for this team to play to its strengths.

Perhaps no ones sacrifice has been greater than Boshs. Hes had to abandon the conventional low-post construct most NBA big men operate in and learn how to play center while operating from the 3-point line in, a change that has come gradually over the past two seasons. Hes not a 3-point specialist by any stretch as he made just 21 this season and shot just 28 percent. But hes capable of being a threat from that distance if the Heat need him to be. He shot 54 percent from deep during the Heats championship run last season.

Thats where he becomes positionless, Spoelstra said. Is he a [four] or a [five]. As long hes doing the things that help us be versatile, thats what makes him so special and unique to us, his versatility. And if you dont have a player such as Chris, with his versatility

Just ask the Milwaukee Bucks, who have to figure out a way to deal with three of the leagues most versatile players tonight in Game 2 of their first round playoff series.

They couldnt handle any of them in Game 1. But Bosh was a particularly tough matchup because he stretched the floor early with two 3-pointers, drawing Bucks rim protector Larry Sanders away from his comfort zone and opening up the floor for James and Wade to operate.

Bosh might not make another 3-pointer in Game 2 tonight or the entire series, for that matter. And thats fine with Spoelstra, who insists that the fact that Bosh has polished that part of his game and can use it is far more important than worrying about whether he actually utilizes that skill.

Everybody wants to put him in a box, Spoelstra said. Everybody wanted to make him a low-post, back-in guy to give us a post/paint presence. He can do that. But if you only have him do that, you can limit him. He does so many other things. And the other things he has done for us allows us to play our game. But ironically, those are often the things he will be criticized for. But without him, sometimes its tough to do what we do.

Bosh is well aware of the critics and their often savage reviews of his game. In Toronto, he was a stretch four who had to serve as his teams only true post presence and did so to the tune of 24 points and 11 rebounds in his final season with the Raptors. But Bosh has had to come to grips with the fact that his game is greater when he expands it beyond the conventional.

Its just knowing that its not necessarily what this team needs me to do, Bosh said. I know its unorthodox for people to really see what type of player I am and what they needed me to be here. You have to really be open-minded. You see a big and they want to put you in a box. A guy might outweigh you by 50 or 60 pounds and you still have to back him down and be effective. If the team doesnt need me to do that Im not going to waste my time trying to bang dudes and shoot turnaround jumpers and hook shots all night. Its going to be there sometimes, but Im just going to be all over the court. And because of that I think Ive become a much better player.

Bosh knows he could have stuck around in Toronto or even gone somewhere else and put up the sort of numbers he did in his Raptors days. He could be the centerpiece of a team and probably play exclusively in whatever comfort zone he wanted to. Hes also certain that he wouldnt be the player he has become since coming here.

To truly be a really good player, the things you do well, you have to do them [well] in the playoffs during crunch time situations, when its the toughest, he said. Ive noticed since Ive been here thats how you become a really good player, a great player. Ive gained a lot of respect for guys who have done that over and over in the past, guys who have not necessarily been in the superstar role. Being in the mainstream you always think it was just Shaq and Kobe [Bryant]or [Michael] Jordan and [Scottie] Pippen. But those other guys had to perform and play well, too. It takes a team to win a championship, and just playing on that elite, high level is really amazing.

And if that means Bosh has to be reclassified again, so be it.

Ill be whatever the team needs, he said and then smiled. Stretch five, stretch four, back to the basket, face up, catch and go. Im working to do it all.

The Heats championship plans this season depend on exactly that.

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San Antonio Spurs vs Dallas Mavericks first round NBA Playoffs

Well it is that time of the season again and with the playoff time that has just about kicked off in the “Western Conference”, it’s important that you stay updated with your favorite players and the happenings around the league as betting on basketball take one very important thing, knowledge.

If you have been loyal to the game you would then know that every year the Mavericks always play a full 48 minutes of hard fought basketball and in turn award their fans with a punched out opponent. So will this be any different this year, NBA odds are unsure. Taking into consideration the Western Conference is filled with a range of playoff teams each with 50+ wins, it is seen that the Mavericks went gone over the hill to do an improvement of their abilities; this has been noticed with the team being redone and upgraded. Howard and Gooden have been traded away for Caron Butler and Brandon Haywood.

There have been more points averaged than what Josh Howard averaged with the fantabulous entry of Butler, while it has been noticed that Haywood has contributed to becoming the motivating factor on defensive gaming techniques for the spirit of the team, so lets take the big-man who is the younger one of the lot and just averaging under Gooden’s point totals, nevertheless scored more rebounds than him, plays better at blocks and the critics are of the opinion that involving him was a good move which will now only bring on success and fortune to the game and the team members at large for the team of Dallas in the coming years.

Jason Kidd is at the starting line and is with the league now for a very long time; on the other hand we have off the bench names like Caron Butler, Shawn Marion, and Erick Dampler and Dirk Nowitzki. However for Mavericks would be Tim Thomas, has a reputation of 9 seasons in which he has been associated with seven teams. He is known for his lazy attitude which led him out of the team. It was in the beginning of 2010 whilst Thomas was not regularly heard or seen of and no where on the Mavericks roster was he to be seen and rumors went abuzz of a clash between him and the Mavs that led to cut ties with him. Well baseless as it was Thomas was actually quiet and not as the media said making a ruckus in their locker room, nor was there a clash between him and the team. The young player was away to attend to his ailing wife and to quote Thomas who clearly stated that he was out and away taking care of his better half and hence had to sacrifice many a games with the team. Now that is one dude I would love to meet for sure, someone who stands up against the tide and knows his head from his shoulders and yet swims the tardiest of waters to be a successful survivor at the end of it all. Nevertheless irrespective of whether Thomas is in the team or not , San Antonio Spurs have to be extremely cautious when it comes to playing with the Mavericks since they probably will be one hell of a team to defeat , namely with the passion and aggression each of the Maverick’s have with respect to winning the game.

Now it is important to the San Antonio Spurs and L.A. Lakers to make and have a combination and collaboration to win 7 of NBA Championships from a total of 10 if they aim at keeping the game spirit on track, which by all means is not an impossible feat for the two. The Spurs just as in the case of the Mavericks, are known for the talented scouts it owns and hence are a tough to tackle with the playoff around the corner.

Manu Ginobilli, Tim Duncan, and Tony Parker are well known players on whichever team in basketball much more than the likes of a Kobe, Gasol or Melo and Billups. The only comparison that I can make here is Garnett, Pierce and Allen. This is going to be a war of a series and a great one to place your NBA bet on at

NBA: Boston at Milwaukee (8:00 PM ET, FSN)

After spending a month taking advantage of a schedule that included some of the league’s worst teams, the Milwaukee Bucks are one game into a stretch that sends three of the NBA’s best to the Bradley Center. They already turned back the LeBron-less Cavaliers on Saturday night. Up on Tuesday are the Boston Celtics, and Bucks are a 1-point home favorite according to

A breakout performance from the struggling Brandon Jennings helped the Bucks top the team with the league’s best record, and they’ll look for a 10th win in 11 games Tuesday night as they try to snap the Boston Celtics’ four-game winning streak.

Milwaukee (33-29, 40-21-1 ATS) was three games out of the Eastern Conference’s final playoff spot as of Jan. 26, but it has gone 15-4 and even more amazing 15-3-1 ATS since then to jump into fifth place. Of the Bucks’ first 14 victories in that stretch, 13 came against the bottom nine teams in the East. Only Miami, which Milwaukee beat three times, currently owns a winning record.

Visits from Cleveland, Boston (40-21, 26-34-1 ATS) and Utah in a seven-day stretch should give the Bucks a bigger challenge, but questions remained even after their first test. Jennings scored 25 points in a 92-85 victory Saturday over the league-best Cavaliers, who gave LeBron James a night off to rest his sore ankle.

“There’ll be people saying it was a great game and there’ll be other people saying well, LeBron didn’t play, if he would have played, they would have won,” said Andrew Bogut, who had 15 points and nine rebounds. “It’s a lose-lose situation for us.” The Bucks are 18-4 ATS after playing a game as a home favorite this season.

Milwaukee can hope Jennings’ effort is the precursor of a personal turnaround. The rookie point guard had averaged 9.9 points and shot 29.7 percent since Feb. 1 before sparking the victory over Cleveland. Just three days earlier, after shooting 2 for 12 in a win over Washington, Jennings said he wasn’t even sure if wanted to continue taking shots.

That public display of frustration didn’t please coach Scott Skiles. “Right now, I’m playing for something bigger,” Jennings said after hitting five 3-pointers against the Cavaliers. “Main thing is get to playoffs, having the city start believing in us and keep going on from there.” Milwaukee hasn’t lost a game against the spread since Feb. 17 to Houston, accumulating 9-0-1 ATS mark.

If Milwaukee ends up in the postseason for the first time since 2006, it might find itself facing the Atlantic Division-leading Celtics in the first round. Boston is 4-0 (3-1 ATS) in March after going 9-11 from Jan. 14-Feb. 27, but much like during the Bucks’ winning stretch, the competition has hardly been fierce.

The Celtics’ streak has been built against the teams currently occupying then 9th-12th spots in the East, and they had to battle back to beat Washington at home on Sunday night. Boston trailed 79-66 with 6:11 remaining before responding with a 20-4 closing run to secure an 86-83 win. Ray Allen had eight of his 25 points in the decisive stretch.

“We’ve lost so many of these where we played poorly and lost,” Celtics coach Doc Rivers said. “It was nice to play poorly and win. I just wish we could have played the first 40 minutes, like we played the last eight.” Boston is 24-12 ATS after a win by six points or less over the last two seasons.

Boston lost its latest visit to Milwaukee last March 15 as Allen, Paul Pierce and Rajon Rondo combined to shoot 8 of 36. That was the Celtics’ only loss in the series’ last eight games (3-5 ATS). Kevin Garnett - who didn’t make a field goal Sunday for the first time in more than 14 years - had 25 points and nine rebounds in a 98-89 win at TD Garden on Dec. 8. Bogut had 25 points and 14 rebounds in the loss while committing a season-high seven turnovers. That was one of only three Milwaukee losses in 17 games in which Bogut has scored 20 points or more. has the Bucks as a one-point home favorite with total of 188 and they are 11-3 ATS after successfully covering the spread in four or more consecutive games. Normally, Milwaukee and the word defense are not used in the same sentence, except for negative connotation. However, the Bucks are 10-2 UNDER when the total is between 180 and 189.5 points, winning by seven points per game this season. Boston definitely prefers to play at their own pace, with pale 2-12 ATS record versus teams averaging 83 or more shots a game since the beginning of the season and are 25-12 UNDER in road encounters when playing against a club with a winning record.

This Eastern Conference matchup is available in both local TV markets at 8:00 Eastern and Milwaukee is 14-5 ATS when the line is +3 to -3 this campaign.

StatFox Power Line – Milwaukee by 7 has all the latest NBA odds, stats, trends and news you need for winning your basketball wagers.

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