Chris Bosh to return to Miami Heat starting lineup

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MIAMI — Chris Bosh wanted to make sure he showed off his game and his red shoes on Christmas Day.

After sitting out Saturday against Utah because of the flu, the Miami Heat center returned to practice Monday. He will back in the starting lineup for Tuesday’s NBA Finals rematch against Oklahoma City at AmericanAirlines Arena.

“I stayed in bed for a couple of days, and I was really thinking about how exciting it would be to play at 100 percent on Christmas,’’ Bosh said about missing his first game of the season. “So I kind of kept (Tuesday’s game) in mind a lot.’’

After all, NBA players will be wearing special shoes on Christmas. Bosh was beaming about the red ones he broke in during Monday’s practice.

“I like mine,’’ Bosh said. “They’re cool.’’

Bosh, who is averaging 18.0 points and 7.9 rebounds per game, was under the weather when he got up Saturday morning. Heat officials told him to stay home, and he missed the 105-89 win over the Jazz. With Miami off from practice Sunday, Bosh got some additional rest.

“The bug left his body,’’ said Heat coach Erik Spoelstra, whose team has the top record in the Eastern Conference at 18-6, while Oklahoma City is best in the West at 21-5. “I think he probably was a little bit weaker (Monday), but he was able to go through the whole practice. He wanted to go up and down and run the full court and get some extra work. He was able to work on his rhythm.’’

Barring a setback, Spoelstra anticipates Bosh will be at full strength against the Thunder.

“Everybody on our team has been hit by the bug,’’ said Heat guard Dwyane Wade, who has missed three games this season, including one because of illness. “It’s good it didn’t last too long, and he’ll be able to get back out there. We need him.’’

Bosh will face the team he had made his debut against as Miami’s regular center. After the Heat lost Game 1 of the Finals to Oklahoma City in June, Spoelstra inserted Bosh, normally a power forward, into the starting lineup at center. The Heat won the final four games of the series to claim the title.

Now, Bosh is back against the Thunder. The only difference is he’ll be wearing red shoes.

Chris Tomasson can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @christomasson