All kinds of theories abound as to what exactly has been ailing Bosh, who hasn’t been the dominant player he was during most of the season.
Bosh says he’s healthy, even amid growing whispers that he’s playing through pain, especially to his right knee that sports a brace.
There’s talk that Bosh has somehow shut it down, or at least not given his best because so much money is at stake this coming summer when free agency looms.
The theory that won’t go away goes something like this: Someone has gotten in Bosh’s ears; by risking an injury, he’s risking losing millions upon millions.
It’s all conjecture, but it’s talk nonetheless that is being bandied about.
Eventually, and in all likelihood when the Raptors’ season ends, the truth will come out and people who are reluctant to go on the record will bare their soul.
More than ever, the Raptors need Bosh.
Whether he stays or goes, his legacy will either be tarnished or cemented depending on how the Raptors close out the regular season and, assuming they qualify, how they perform in the playoffs.
The impact Evans has had in games since his return has been marginal and his role diminished.
“Rough,’’ began Evans when asked following Friday’s practice to describe his year in Toronto. “It has been rough, man. I ain’t going to lie to you.
“I ain’t ever been injured in my life and it ain’t been fun. It ain’t been all peaches and cream. It has been a tough year.”
Mentally, Evans remains strong because that’s who he is and that’s how he was raised.
Evans says he’s physically able to play, but the current rotation that sees Hedo Turkoglu coming off the bench and Amir Johnson’s emergence as the first reserve means Evans gets little playing time.
“I have to make sure I’m physically better and make sure I’m in the rotation,’’ Evans said.
People opining that his return to Philly will conjure some special emotion are dead wrong.
“I don’t care about the Philly situation no more,’’ Evans, who will be in uniform for the first time in Philly this season, said. “At the beginning, when we were in the pre-season, I was hyped up about Philly.
“Now, I don’t care.”
"In the middle of the season, we were playing him the majority of the third quarter and giving him the last three minutes (of the third) and the first three of the fourth as times to rest," said coach Jay Triano.
But those days are gone and Bosh is now more likely to get more, shorter stints on the bench so he’s fresher later in games.
"In not trying to break him down now, we’re going to probably take him out earlier and make it where he gets two rests in the second half," said the coach. "With the intensity we need him to rebound and run the floor and play (at), two breaks are where we’re going to go.
"It might mean one or two fewer minutes (overall) but if it means higher productivity and energy when he’s out there, we’re going to take it."
Bosh has been averaging 36.4 minutes per game this season, which is about his career norm but down from the 38 minutes a night he logged last season.
In Toronto’s last two games – wins in Charlotte and at home against the Los Angeles Clippers – Bosh played the first six minutes of the third quarter, sat about four, went back in for a second stint, got another short rest and was ready to go in the decisive last few minutes. He really wasn’t needed in what was a 22-point rout of the Clippers but would have been fresher, the thinking goes, if he had been.
"With the kind of basketball that we want to play because … we’re gearing up for the playoffs, it’s more energy, more intense and we’re trying to conserve my energy so later on in the stretch of the game, I’ll have more," Bosh said.
"I’m not much of a practice guy," Toronto Raptors forward Chris Bosh said yesterday.
Good news, Chris: You will not have to endure coach Jay Triano’s practices much more. (Save your Bosh-is-leaving one-liners, please.) The Raptors will play their final eight games of the regular season, starting this afternoon in Philadelphia, in just 12 days. That span will include three sets of back-to-back games, the day after which the Raptors usually take off.
After breaking down the schedule, that made yesterday’s practice the team’s penultimate session of the regular season. A week from today should mark the final one. There is a chance Triano could try to squeeze in another practice or two. For example, last month he scheduled an unexpected session back in Toronto the day after finishing a back-to-back set in Portland. However, that was the first time the Raptors had worked after back-to-back games all year.
"There are not many days to practise here," Triano said. "The last thing you want to do is have somebody break down now because of them wearing down with this big run coming."
The lack of time to work is a mixed blessing. Positively, the players can conserve their energy for the games. Negatively, however, there will be little chance for Triano to get his players used to new rotations, meaning it is unlikely, barring an injury or horrid play, that the coach will alter the group he is using now.
Who’s hot? Andre Iguodala has made 36 of his last of his last 58 (62%) field-goal attempts. He is shooting just 44% for the year.
Who’s not? Formerly the king of the three-point shot, Jason Kapono has gone just 8-for-25 (32%) from distance over the last four games.
Think the Raps have more than a 4% chance of beating the Cavs? Well before you place a wager consider the fact that if the Raptors do make the playoffs they will be the ONLY team to do so with a negative points differential between points for and points against. They will also be the only team in the Eastern Conference playoffs to give up more than 97.5 points per game. The Raps give up 105.3 points per game.
4%? From where I am sitting those odds seem about right.
The scary part is the Raptors, as an organization, will be foregoing a mid first round pick for that 4%. For a team that in my eyes needs some major reconstruction, with or without Chris Bosh, those are just bad odds all around.
With this in mind I am going to have a tough time cheering for the Raptors over the course of the final couple of weeks. For the long term health of this team I hope they don’t make the playoffs. Besides, watching Lebron James & Co. beat-up on the Raps like a pinada is just not that appealing of a thought.
At least if Bosh does move on to greener pastures (and in my mind he would be crazy not to) the more assets and picks this team has the better. Hell, maybe Colangelo could package that pick with Hedo…one can dream right?
While Toronto will be in Philadelphia, trying to get to win #38 (and another game closer to me winning my bet against Darren), Chicago will be playing Charlotte. The question is, who do you cheer for. If you’re an optimist, you cheer for Chicago, because you want Toronto to get that 7th seed and not have to play the best team in the league in the first round. If you’re a pessimist, you cheer for Charlotte, not wanting Chicago to have any chance of catching Toronto for the 8th spot in the East.
Me? I’m going for Chicago in this one. Maybe.
- Toronto Raptors Morning Coffee April 2
- Gameday: Raptors vs Sixers – Apr. 4/10