But note Bosh's answer when he was asked on Monday if yet another failed season would be a reflection on him.
"No. What else do you want me to do?" he said. "Do you want me to score 30, 40 points a game? Twenty blocks a game? That's not my game. That's not what I do. I try to get these guys going, and that's pretty much it. I'm not weak-minded by any means. I know that we're going to be good this year. I think we have time to turn it around. That's the plain fact."
He didn't sound convinced the resurgence was imminent, not with Atlanta and Oklahoma City next on the schedule. And he added: "You can't put the emphasis on one person … it's a team sport."
There’s not a lot to be optimistic about based on the pessimism that hovers over the Raptors like a dark cloud.
The team is in the throes of a five-game losing streak and the immediate future looks bleak with the Atlanta Hawks and Oklahoma City Thunder coming to town this week.
The Raptors are barely clinging to the eighth and final playoff spot in the East. But amid all this doom and gloom comes word from Chris Bosh that bodes well for a team that hasn’t been playing well.
“I think I’m back to where I was,’’ Bosh said after Monday’s practice. “My timing is better and I’m feeling better.”
Jose Calderon will be back in the starting unit, a move that is long overdue but one that clearly has upset Jarrett Jack, at least based on Jack’s terse comments.
Jack shouldn’t feel bad, but he does because he’s a professional and he takes pride in wanting to be the on-court leader.
It’s commendable, but the Raptors need to get out to better starts and they need to regroup better at halftime.
For one of the few times since the all-star break, the Raptors actually won a third quarter, outscoring Portland 29-24 on Sunday with Calderon on the floor when the period began.
“If you want to blame somebody for the way we’re playing, blame me,” Colangelo said late Monday afternoon.
It was late Monday after back-to-back games on the west coast, a red-eye flight home, a practice called on what was thought to be a day off.
“I’m the guy ultimately responsible,” he said, and then essentially put the onus on his players, not his coach, to find a way out of this dark NBA hole the Raptors find themselves in.
Sam Mitchell joins the Big Early to talk about his new gig with NBA TV, the breakdown of the East, and the possible destinations of the big name free agents.
Want to know one reason why I think it’s wise to have Jose replace Jarrett as the starting point guard? As we’ve seen all year, Toronto’s defence comes off its offence – it’s a terrible trait and one they have to break but it seems undeniable at this point in the season – and it strikes me as the offence just runs more efficiently with Calderon at the helm.
High screen and roll works a bit more smoothly, possessions have a bit more “calm” to them and there’s just a greater sense of confidence in those moments.
“It was a teaching tone,” he said of Triano's mood in practice. “It's the right tone. Yelling and screaming is a waste of breath, I've always felt. We're professionals. If you want to scream at a bunch of grown men, good luck.”
But who slipped out of the gym as all eyes were on the embattled rookie head coach?
That would be Bryan Colangelo, the team president, general manager and architect of a house once again badly listing.
Given the complete overhaul of their roster which the Raptors made last summer:
- Trading for Reggie Evans [#1]
- Selecting DeMar DeRozan [#2], No. 9 [overall] in the 2009 NBA Draft
- Signing Jarrett Jack [#3], as a restricted free agent
- Trading for Amir Johnson [#4] and Sonny Weems [#5]
- Trading for Marco Belinelli [#6]
- Trading for Hedo Turkoglu [#7] and Antoine Wright [#8]
in hopes of significantly upgrading the talent level of the players around Chris Bosh, Jose Calderon and Andrea Bargnani, it is difficult to believe that this is the type of final result which Toronto’s basketball braintrust was expecting from this season.
In Bosh’s first three games back after his injury, his shooting stroke was gone and so was his ability to drive. In the next couple of games, Bosh found his stroke was still mostly playing on the outside. And in his attempt to regain his offensive rhythm, Bosh turned the ball over nine times over those last two games.
Equally important for a poor rebounding team like Toronto, Bosh has averaged about three fewer boards per game since his return.
Maybe it was conditioning or maybe it was timing. It’s even possible Bosh was still feeling the effects of that sprained ankle. But without Bosh’s new found ability to dominate in the paint against all types of defenders, the Raptors looked a lot like last year’s team in four of the past five games.
One bit of good news for the Bulls is even while losing seven in a row, they're just a game out of the eighth playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. That's because Toronto has been just as bad, losing nine of 10.
Raptors star and free-agent-in-waiting Chris Bosh delivered a pointed message following a recent loss in Golden State.
"We're supposed to be gearing up for playoff basketball and this is not playoff basketball," Bosh said in the Toronto Sun. "I'm glad I'm not one of the coaches. I wouldn't know what to do, either. I don't know how many speeches you can give. I don't know how many lineup changes there can be. I don't know."
So, a reporter asked Bosh if this slump should reflect on him. Bosh was defiant.
"What else do you want me to do?" Bosh said after a late practice on Monday. "You want me to score 30? 40? 20 blocks a game? That's not my game. That's not what I do. I try to get these guys going and that's pretty much it. At the end of the day, we're going to be successful. I'm not weak-minded by any means."
“It’s not a losing proposition to make the playoffs,” Colangelo said after his team participated in a practice Monday. “A couple years ago you were begging for teams to make the playoffs. We’ve been in the playoffs. We’re competing at the level we can compete right now with the teams that we’re fighting with. And if you don’t make it to the second round, it’s not a failure. It’s not a loss if you don’t make it to the second round.”
If Bosh does become a free agent, the Blazers should make a serious effort to sign him.
The 6-foot-10, 210-pound Bosh is averaging 24.1 points and 11.2 rebounds per game and, with Memphis' Zach Randolph, is one of two players averaging at least 20 points and 10 rebounds per game this season.
Bosh is a four-time All-Star and member of the gold medal-winning 2008 U.S. Olympic team.
Bosh and the Blazers don't sound optimistic that Portland could be a potential destination for him.
"I think they're already set. Especially with the acquisition of (Marcus) Camby, and they have LaMarcus (Aldridge)," Bosh said. "They're pretty much locked up at the four position."
The Raptors already own the tiebreaker over the Bulls by winning the first two head-to-head meetings. And though both teams have nine home and eight road games remaining, the Bulls face 11 winning teams while the Raptors draw just nine.
So catching the Raptors won't be easy, particularly given the Bulls' failing health.
"The only way we have a realistic chance is to get everybody healthy," coach Vinny Del Negro conceded. "Let's try to heal up and see if we can make a push at the end. It's not a lot of fun right now."
In the next breath, Del Negro did have fun, joking about how even the projected second-team lineup could change given the team still had to travel to Memphis.
Bosh has made statements that make it sound as if he would prefer to continue being the superstar on his team. Despite this, I am sure the possibilities of playing on a team with another All-Star or two would be intriguing to him.
Many teams can be ruled out because of their cap-space or talent situations. The Los Angeles Clippers for example, have cap-space but have plenty of talent at the F/C positions already. A team like the Denver Nuggets would love to have Bosh, but have no cap flexibility.
Here's the first episode of the Raptors Rundown podcast. It's something I want to be able to do weekly at the least. In this episode, I and fellow guest/fan Rose Arcana discuss topics that include the recent four game West Coast trip, Bosh venting to the media, 3rd quarter meltdowns, and more.
"I was laying on my recliner and she came over and asked if it would make me happy if she sang a song," Howie Triano recalled.
Triano was so impressed with Morgan's performance – he had also heard her sing the national anthem at the Niagara Falls Review Basketball Tournament – that he mentioned her talents to his son Jay.
Jay Triano, head coach of the Toronto Raptors, was equally impressed with the Grade 4 student at Orchard Park Elementary School.
So, on Friday, Morgan will belt out the Canadian and U.S. national anthems at the Raptor's game against the Oklahoma City Thunder at the Air Canada Centre.
Let's explore McMillan's statement about adjusting the team's sets. Reviewing the tape from last night showed that the adjustments were relatively subtle yet incredibly effective. The biggest beneficiary, especially early, was LaMarcus Aldridge, who enjoyed a monster first quarter. The biggest cause for his success, I would argue, was his developing chemistry with new Center Marcus Camby.
In his fourth NBA season, Toronto Raptors center Andrea Bargnani is averaging 6.0 rebounds per game over 34.8 minutes. While this rebounding average is a career-best for him, it’s still terrible for a seven-foot center. How terrible? Here are all the seven-foot players in NBA history who averaged at least 30 minutes in a season while grabbing fewer than seven rebounds per game.
"I wouldn’t have predicted us to slide as rapidly as we’ve done. But that's the league. You go through stretches of up and down basketball," Jack said. "The thing we have to do is make sure that we don’t let the down stretches go on too long. We have to try and correct it before it becomes a problem."
The current "down" stretch has been a lengthy one, but Jack says the Raptors can reverse their current trajectory in the final 17 games.
"We’re still fine. We have a lot of basketball left to be played," Jack said. "If the situation was that we had four or five games left in the season and we’re hoping for other teams to lose…"
Toronto plays no defense. That is what gets them beat. That is why they have lost five straight games and have fallen to eighth in the East (and would be out entirely if not for the Bulls recent play).
Wanted that to be clear so one person isn't blamed for the woes. But Jarret Jack isn't helping matters. And that is a more fixable problem short term — which is why he may be about to lose his starting job. Jose Calderon has been out playing him — Jack had seven points against Golden State, Calderon came off the bench and put up 24. Calderon also had two more points and two more assists than Jack in the loss to Portland.
What's more, if the Raptors fail to make the playoffs for the second straight season and sixth time in eight years, it could certainly open the door for Chris Bosh to fly the coop and join forces somewhere with one of the other big name free agents.
Back when the Raptors were flying high, it was popular to think that a strong finish would convince Bosh to re-sign in Toronto with a program that was moving forward. But if the Raptors continue their fade down the stretch, the power forward could come to realize that he's not the big dog to carry a franchise by himself and look to move. At least, that's the hope of Miami, Houston and a few other places.
"I'm glad I'm not one of the coaches," he said. "I wouldn't know what to do, either. We changed I don't know how many times, I don't know how many speeches you can give. I don't know how many lineup changes there can be. I don't know.
"I mean, the coaches can only do so much. We have to take control of this thing because time is ticking and it's counting down. We keep playing like we are right now and we're going to be on the outside looking in."
The Raptors remaining 17 regular season games include nine home games and nine games versus teams likely headed to the playoffs – including two games versus Atlanta, a home game versus Boston, a home game versus western conference powerhouses Utah and Denver and a road game in Cleveland.
Make sure to join the first ever RR March Madness Tournament.
- Fear not, Bulls have harder schedule…and injuries
- Rapcast #65: Jose Calderon to start