When the Celtics face off against the Heat tonight in Miami for Game 5, there could be an unfamiliar face to the series starting for the Heat: Chris Bosh.
Bosh has missed the last nine games with an abdominal strain suffered in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals. Although he hasn't been active for any games of the Eastern Conference Finals, that's not stopping Doc Rivers and the Celtics from preparing for him. For that reason, they aren't worried about his return.
"We have [prepared for him] every game," Rivers said. "So we don't have to do anything different. We prepare every game like Bosh is going to play, and eventually he will and it may be (tonight)."
The Heat have obviously missed Bosh since he's gone down, and Kevin Garnett has made them pay this series, averaging 20.5 points and 10.8 rebounds per game. Historically, Garnett has done well against Bosh, and Rivers knows that he's not shaking in his sneakers at the thought of Bosh's return.
"I don't know how much different it'll be," Rivers said. "I think Kevin will try to post up whoever they throw out there and we're going to try to post him up. So it's just another body. Chris is obviously very talented and poses his own problems ... but whoever's there [Garnett] is going to try to play against."
In their last two meetings, Garnett held Bosh to 13 and 4 points, respectively.
It isn't Garnett vs. the Heat though, as Rajon Rondo, Paul Pierce and most recently Ray Allen and the bench have all stepped up. Rivers doesn't think it's a "last hurrah" type thing that has sparked the C's - just a belief in them and strong will to win.
"I just think they're playing hard because they believe they can win," Rivers said. And I'm sure with them that [last hurrah] has got to be a factor, but I can tell you it's nothing we talk about. We really don't. We talk about winning this series and then moving on."