On Saturday he explained why he thought his numbers weren’t quite up to their normal lofty levels.
“Coming back from an injury, it takes a little time, but this one has taken a little longer because they have thrown different packages at me,” Bosh said of the defensive treatment he has received since sitting out seven games with a wonky ankle.
“They’ve really been double teaming me aggressively, so my scoring isn’t going to be what it was. I understand that. I just have to keep the ball moving and cut my turnovers down.”
Bosh isn’t sure he can move the ball out of double teams any quicker than he already is, but he knows he has to be more precise when he does move it because he doesn’t see this trend ending any time soon.
“I was very surprised at how aggressive the coverages have been,” he said. “But everyone watches the games, so I won’t be surprised if I see that for the rest of the season.”
It was put to Bosh that many believe his recent tendency to shy away from contact and settle for jumpers is the result of further damage to his right knee rather than an ankle injury.
While admitting he understood such speculation, Bosh pointed out that the injury was to his left ankle and that he wears a brace on his right knee.
Some teams use 1-3-1 zones, with one guard at the top, one below the basket and three other players fanned out across the court just below the free-throw line.
Some teams "match up" with their zone so that they play some man-to-man within the scheme.
"You can use it until teams figure it out," said Toronto coach Jay Triano. "I think a lot of times we’ve tried it and sometimes a guy makes a three the first time and you get out of it. They might miss the next four or five; it’s a gamble, it’s a gamble."
But if it’s a gamble and some players hate it, why use it? Why waste time putting it in during precious practice sessions?
The underlying reason is that NBA players have a hard time guarding guys one-on-one and if someone’s particularly bad, it’s an easy way to hide him.
"Sometimes I think it’s like a cop-out," said Wright. "It’s like, `Oh, we can guard them so let’s try to switch it up.’ I think you lose a team’s morale when you try to just sit there and it’s kind of like you’re hiding guys.
"It can be situational and work on non-shooting teams but this is the NBA, who are you kidding? Because you play zone doesn’t mean guys are going to shoot jump shots.
"I think that’s the reason why you don’t see it across the league, you don’t see many good teams playing zone at all."
Contrary to popular belief …
Andrea Bargnani is a long ways away from being a useless NBA player, provided that he is actually used properly, i.e. as a Back-up Center, who becomes THE focal point of the Raptors’ offense each time Chris Bosh is taken off the floor.
What specific line-up SHOULD the Raptors have used instead of this one?
Weems [6-6, 205] vs Billups [6-3, 202]
DeRozan [6-7, 220] vs Carter [6-2, 195]
Wright [6-7, 215] vs Smith [6-6, 220]
Johnson [6-9, 210] vs Anthony [6-8, 230]
Bosh [6-10, 245] vs Nene [6-11, 250]
If the Raptors had played these last 2 defensive possessions with this different 5-Man Unit, in all likelihood:
- This is the 4th and final meeting between Miami and Toronto this season, with the Raptors leading 2-1. Each team has won their games at home.
- The Heat has held their last four opponents to under 40% shooting. If they can do it tonight, it will tie a franchise record.
- Chris Bosh is averaging 27.0 points and 10.7 rebounds against Miami this season but has been struggling of late, turning the ball over 19 times over his last 4 games.
- Miami comes in winning 7 of their last 9 games at the AAA.
- A win would put the Heat 6 games over .500 for the first time this season. The last time they were 5 games over was on November 14th when they were 7-2.
- Toronto has lost 6 of their last 8 away from the Air Canada Centre.
- Miami is 10-3 so far in the month of March, still with 2 games remaining (tonight vs. TOR, Wednesday @ DET). The last time the Heat won this many games in a month was in 2007, ironically also in March, when they went 11-4.
- Hedo Turkoglu (flu) is questionable for the Raptors after missing their last game on Friday against Denver, and Antoine Wright (ankle) is probable. Wright recently replaced rookie DeMar DeRozan in Toronto’s starting lineup.
Hedo Turkoglu walked out of practice early again Saturday looking like he wanted to be anywhere but in a gym.
That’s a game and a half, a shootaround and two practices now that Turkoglu has missed with what the team is describing as a stomach virus.
“He just wasn’t healthy enough to continue on here,” head coach Jay Triano said.
“It happened in the game (Wednesday when he didn’t return for the second half) and he couldn’t play Friday night and we weren’t going to get anything out of him in practice either, so rest and get healthy.”
Triano said the team had doctors look at him Friday morning, but would not elaborate on the problem or the findings.
“There’s a fine line between what you can say about a stomach virus without people flooding us and coming in and testing everyone who has been around him and associated with him,” Triano said.
Triano was asked point blank if Turkoglu’s illness was legitimate.
“Absolutely,” he said.
So why does it feel like there’s more to this?
A playoff matchup against Toronto could provide Celtics fans with their final look at Chris Bosh in a Raptors uniform. The 6-foot-10 Bosh, who averages 24 points and 11 rebounds, is expected to opt out of his contract this summer and sign elsewhere. The Knicks would love to land Bosh and LeBron James, but that’s wishful thinking.
The Raptors are as soft as a Twinkie inside and own one of the league’s worst defenses.
Some eyebrows were raised earlier, as a result of a humiliating blowout at home by the Utah Jazz. On his radio show on Thursday, Raptor analyst Jack Armstrong was quite direct in his assessment of Chris Bosh’s recent performance.
To his credit, Jack didn’t mince words when he questioned Chris Bosh as a real strong team leader and an on-court difference maker on the floor like say Kobe, LeBron, Wade, Melo and a few others.
Fact is, Chris is not at that level. He is simply not the guy who will or can say “get on my back because I carrying you to victory tonight”. The Denver game was the perfect opportunity and he simply couldn’t deliver – while Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups did.
Jack noted the drop-off in Chris’ play and intensity at precisely the time when the Raptors need Bosh to do more. Bosh’s comment after the Utah game where he asked "what more can I do?" did not sit well with the Coach. Jack’s feeling was that if Bosh wants to be "the man", then he has to find a way to do more – including pushing others on the floor.
What concerns Jack is that Bosh has apparently not been particularly vocal with his teammates and chooses to lead by example and leave the motivation to the coaches. With a staff lacking in leadership, the motivation void is huge. Jack feels Bosh has to take it upon himself to be more assertive.
He referred to a quote by ex-Nets Coach Laurence Frank in one of the NY dailies earlier this week where he said, "In college basketball your team takes on the personality of your coach. In pro basketball your team takes on the personality of your best player".