source: TIM REYNOLDS | AP Sports Writer
MIAMI (AP)—Chris Bosh and the Miami Heat were thrilled to see each other again Tuesday.
Bosh returned to the team after missing nearly a week to deal with his grandmother’s death, and was in the starting lineup Tuesday night when Miami plays host to the New Jersey Nets. Bosh missed Miami’s three-game trip to Portland, Utah and the Los Angeles Lakers, and the Heat were beaten in the last two of those contests.
“Very good to see him,” Heat guard Dwyane Wade said Tuesday morning after Miami’s game-day shootaround practice. “You realize how much you missed the guy. Had a little bromance moment for a minute. Wanted to hug him. But I didn’t. I kept it cool.”
Bosh was clearly missed in a lot of areas. In the losses to Utah and the Lakers, Miami was outrebounded 94-67, a staggering discrepancy for any team, especially one that had outrebounded its previous nine opponents by 7.8 per game.
“It’s good to have him back,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said of the team’s All-Star power forward. “No question.”
Bosh entered Tuesday averaging 18.4 points and 8.3 rebounds this season for Miami.
He did not travel with the team to Portland, was with his family for several days and was back at work in Miami on Monday—a scheduled off day for his teammates after the long flight home from Los Angeles. Bosh also watched some tape, and said he was able to catch some highlights of the games he missed.
“I took some time, I guess, to refresh my mind a little bit so I can come back a lot stronger and finish off this second half of the season,” Bosh said.
Tuesday’s game was Bosh’s first “real” game in nearly two weeks. Miami last played with Bosh on Feb. 23 against the New York Knicks. He played in the All-Star Game three days later and was getting ready for the road trip when word came about his grandmother.
“It was hard staying away,” Bosh said.
His teammates, as expected, understood.
“Family comes first, before anything,” Heat forward LeBron James said. “He was able to come back today, so that’s when we want him back. Before, if he wasn’t ready, we didn’t want him back. You have to protect home first. The game of basketball will come second.”
Bosh said everyone on the team reached out to him during his absence, which meant plenty to him and his family.
“These are my guys,” Bosh said. “We’re all family here. It’s just really good to be back.”