SI: "A fired-up Bosh carrying Raptors"
You may not have noticed, but Toronto Raptors forward Chris Bosh has been playing like a man possessed lately.
Take Sunday's game against Indiana. The 6-foot-10 forward was bent down among his teammates barking encouragement and pumping his fist over and over during the pregame huddle. He brought a similar fire to the game's first possession, which ended with Bosh's waging and winning a battle with all five Pacers packed in the paint as he finally got his third putback attempt to go through the hoop.
That set the tone for Bosh's man-among-boys performance, notable for its versatility. During one whirlwind 95-second span midway through the first quarter, he drew a charge, blocked two shots, sank a layup and grabbed two rebounds. He finished the night with 26 points, 17 rebounds, seven assists and a plus-25 in 37 minutes of Toronto's 117-102 victory (meaning the Raptors were a minus-10 in the 11 minutes Bosh sat). The next day, he was named the NBA's Eastern Conference Player of the Week.
Bosh is no stranger to accolades, of course. Just 25, he was recently chosen to play in his fifth All-Star Game. And when people talk about this offseason's bumper crop of free-agent stars, Bosh is always on the short list of the most desirable talent.
But he doesn't top that list, or most any other list. Despite all his skills and eye-opening statistics, there is still something vice presidential about Bosh's fame -- he remains at most just a demi-superstar.
"I wouldn't say CB is underrated, but he is less about the hype than some superstars are," Raptors general manager Bryan Colangelo said in an e-mail. "He carries himself differently and it just seems to be his nature."
Sam Mitchell, one of Bosh's former coaches, cut to the chase: "You can take him home to momma. He'll never be in the news for something that's happened off the court, and that's a good thing."
"I don't think I am considered one of best forwards in the league, and I want to be considered the best," he said. Later, asked to respond to the most frequent criticism of his game -- that he isn't a lockdown defender -- he said, "Who is a lockdown defender and at the same time the No. 1 [offensive] option on their team? Just Jordan, and Kobe maybe. I feel I am a good defensive player; if people want to challenge that, I will gladly prove it every night. If a guy scores on me at will, I will gladly take the blame. But they have to do it first."
"I'm confident in my jump shot, but I am more aggressive now," he said. "I want to get to the basket and impose my will on people more this year."