Time for Heat to shut up and play

Bosh, Wade need to show why they sacrificed to play with James

Mario Chalmers talks about differences between the last series and The Finals.

Shut up and play. They used to have T-shirts in sports that said as much. They need to hand out some to the Heat as they make this final push to the mountaintop.

And let's start with two of the biggest three players on the team.

If that's harsh, the stakes, the NBA Finals, demand it. Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh have continued their running theme of self-sacrifice in delivering the team to LeBron James and having to adjust their games accordingly.

"Not everyone could do what I did," Wade said.

"I've had to change my game completely," Bosh said.

Everyone respects and appreciates Wade and Bosh, for who they are, for what they've done.

And, yes, everyone has seen how this union can be difficult, as all matches of stars can be. Look at the Beatles. Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes. Boston's Big Three.

And their thoughts keep showing it.

"We've got to get everyone involved," Wade said.

"I never thought I'd be shooting 3-pointers," Bosh said.

The hours leading into Game 2 of the NBA Finals aren't the time to wear this like an amulet to ward off the evil spirits of unsavory thoughts and unwanted media questions. They're the time to show everyone why they sacrificed, to make another push to a title.

Take Wade. The hard truth is the bar has been so lowered that when he scored 21 points in Game 7 against Indiana there was a re-coronation of him, and his 17 points in Game 1 against San Antonio suggested he'd done his part.

Yes, his knee hurts. No doubt. It hurts in a manner that affects his game and his mind. But on Saturday LeBron said he can tell when Wade is, "most in tune with the game — I can see it on his face."

He added: "I don't know if it's maybe his knee or maybe frustrated at times or maybe he's just not in the rhythm. But I can see it on his face when he's there. That's what I told him, even if sometimes you're not in the rhythm, I need to see your face that you're in tune and you're ready for the next possession and ready to move on from whatever is going on."

This isn't the time of year to check out for stretches. And, if he's honest, Wade must be frustrated with himself for not adjusting his game to age as much as LeBron's appearance. He hasn't improved his shooting, for instance.

That's shown by his 25.8 percent shooting on 3-pointers during the regular season. That's the lowest for him in seven years, back when he was a rising, young star with springs in his legs.

So at a time he should have prepared for ways to adjust to a weakening body, experienced mind and opponents not fearing his rim-seeking missile of a game, he doesn't have the outside shot.

Others do. LeBron, for instance, worked on his outside shot, especially taking advantage of Ray Allen being on the team this year. The result was LeBron's career-high 40.6 percent this year on 3-point shots.

Wade? He needs to maximize what he has. Smarts. Experience. And still enough athleticism to milk to win games.

Then there's Chris Bosh. He is the most interesting of the Big Three, a thinker, a reader, a man who "appreciates balance in my life," as he said in talking to the media Friday. "For example, right now I'm with a lot of people. Later, I'll take time to be alone."

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