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vs. Miami
Eastern Conference
finals (best of 7)
Wednesday: at Miami, 8:30 p.m.
Friday: at Miami, 8:30 p.m.
Sunday: at Indiana, 8:30 p.m.
May 28: at Indiana, 8:30 p.m.
x-May 30: at Miami, 8:30 p.m.
x- June 1: at Indiana, 8:30 p.m.
x- June 3: at Miami, 8:30 p.m.
x-if necessary
Associated Press
The Heat's Chris Bosh got hurt and missed all but 16 minutes of Game 1 in Miami's playoff series with the Indiana Pacers last year.
NBA playoffs

Bosh eager to meet Pacers

Heat star hurt in Game 1 last year, missed series


– This is the matchup Chris Bosh wanted in the Eastern Conference finals.

No, he might not necessarily enjoy going head-to-head with 7-foot-2 Roy Hibbert when the Miami Heat open this series against the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday night, especially since the Pacers' biggest man is arguably enjoying the best postseason run of his career to date. And it's not because he thinks Miami will waltz past the Pacers, either.

It's simply because this is the series that got taken away from him last season.

Bosh got hurt after playing just 16 minutes of Game 1 of the Miami-Indiana second-round series in 2012, badly straining an abdominal muscle when he reached past Hibbert for a fierce dunk. He missed the remainder of the series, which the Heat eventually won in six games on their way toward the NBA title.

"To be able to have a chance to compete against these guys, I didn't get the chance last time," Bosh said. "I felt last year that I could have really made an imprint on the series. And it's funny how things come back around. I'm going to get another shot. So I'm just thankful to be healthy and be able to play and we'll see what happens."

The Bosh-vs.-Hibbert battle might be the one that decides who represents the East in the NBA Finals.

When Hibbert scores at least 14 points, the Pacers are 11-2 in playoff games. When he doesn't, they're 4-11. And while Bosh might not be the bruiser inside who can overpower Hibbert – who's three inches taller and 45 pounds bigger than the de facto Heat center – there is a simple way that Miami might be able to slow down the Pacers' center.

That would be to do what the Heat like to do most with Bosh on offense, let him extend defenses and exploit his jumper.

"He's very disruptive back there," Heat coach Eric Spoelstra said of Hibbert, who had 21 points, 12 rebounds and five blocked shots in Indiana's second-round-clinching win over New York on Saturday. "He's big, he's intelligent, he changes shots, he sees so many pick-and-rolls every night, he knows how to do it without fouling. He's, no question, the anchor of their defense."

Pacers coach Frank Vogel said: "Roy Hibbert is the best rim protector in the game."

Hibbert is most effective defensively around the rim, so having Bosh set up on the perimeter – as he's apt to do anyway – would serve two purposes. One, it would set him up for his preferred shot and would likely make Hibbert venture outside his comfort zone. Two, pulling Hibbert away from the rim could potentially free up some lanes for LeBron James and Dwyane Wade to attack the basket.

Bosh said he's eager for the challenge. "I'm just thankful to be out there," Bosh said.