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Sports

May 21, 2013

Chris Bosh helps makes Heat a swat team in playoffs

(Continued)

“And Chris has great instincts, great timing and the length and athletic ability to change shots.”

And he knows it.

“I’m a natural shot-blocker,” he said.

That’s when teammate Shane Battier, seated alongside at practice, chimed in with a, “What?”

“I am, Shane,” Bosh turned to his right and replied, “ACC All-Defensive Team, unanimous. Check the stats.

“I led the ACC in blocked shots my freshman year.”

Actually, Battier appreciates Bosh making the most of his length. While LeBron James and Dwyane Wade are known for their athletic shot-blocking on the wing, there are times when length has to prevail at the rim, especially in these impending Eastern Conference finals, when the Indiana Pacers can counter with the length of Roy Hibbert.

“It’s not about shot blocking,” Battier said, “it’s about shot affecting, as long as you have someone to affect shots in different ways.”

Last Wednesday, when the Heat closed out the Bulls in Game 5 of that Eastern Conference semifinal series, Bosh led the Heat with a pair of blocks. The game before, he had four in Chicago, one more that the entire Bulls roster. More figures to be needed when this next round opens Wednesday at AmericanAirlines Arena.

“He’s been active,” Battier said, “and it’s important because you have to give the attackers on the opposing team something to think about. And when you do, those percentages start to come down.”

Such deterrence would be particularly helpful against the Pacers’ Paul George and Lance Stephenson.

“C.B’s been very active,” James said after Monday’s practice. “He’s given us unbelievable rebounds around the rim. He’s been double digits a lot of our games. He’s been blocking shots. He’s been a rim protector for us and we definitely need that, especially in our starting unit.”

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