Bosh feels lost in Miami

Heat power forward Chris Bosh and centre LeBron James on the court together against the Bobcats at...

Heat power forward Chris Bosh and centre LeBron James on the court together against the Bobcats at American Airlines Arena in Miami on October 18, 2010 (VICTOR BALDIZON/NBAE via Getty Images)

MIKE GANTER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 6:31 PM ET

ORLANDO — Chris Bosh needs to make up his mind.

That and develop an even thicker skin than the one protecting him from all the ill-wishers he left behind north of the border.

Lately, he’s hearing as much or more bad-mouthing from non-Torontonians than even the most bitter Raptors fan can spew.

When Bosh bolted Toronto to team up with LeBron James and Dwyane Wade in Miami, it was because he wanted a chance to win.

That’s what he said. It wasn’t about money. It wasn’t about fame. It was about getting the chance to compete for an NBA title. If it meant leaving behind the comfort level he had established in Toronto and perhaps taking on a lesser role, so be it.

At least that’s what he had been saying through last week.

But here we are, not even three full weeks into the season and two days before his first meeting with his old team (Raptors at Miami, 7:30 p.m., Saturday) , and Bosh is already concerned about how he’s going to get his.

Perhaps it’s easier to say the numbers don’t matter after the fact because right now his numbers aren’t very good.

Bosh is no dummy. He had to see this coming.

So why now the need to go to the Heat’s new alpha dog LeBron James late last week as they chartered home from a loss in New Orleans and plead his case?

“I was just honest,’’ Bosh told the Miami Herald of his tete-a-tete with James on the team flight back to Miami after a loss in New Orleans. “I get a little lost out there because it’s different.

“I’ve kind of been on my heels for the first part of the season, so I’m starting to figure it out; it’s starting to come to me,” he said. “But at the end of the day, I just have to be aggressive. That’s what it’s all about.”

James has since categorized the meeting as a get-to-know-you-better sit-down between the two NBA all-stars. Bosh concurred saying a better relationship with his teammates should only make him a better contributor.

“We have a system but at the same time when the game is happening so fast, sometimes I just get lost,” Bosh told the Herald. “I don’t know whether to cut, whether to go, whether to get back and playing with those two talented guys ... it happens real fast. So, I just let (James) know that.”

It never hurts to hash things out with a teammate, but what Bosh really needs to do is go back and dig up some of the remarks he made following his first time playing alongside the likes of James and Wade.

That would be the 2008 Olympics in Beijing where Bosh went in knowing his role would be a lesser one and gave the team exactly what they needed from him.

Should his role in Miami be any different than that one?

This was Bosh talking about his Beijing experience upon his return to Toronto in September of 2008.

“I knew I would have an impact,” Bosh said of his role on that team. “I didn’t think it was going to be as big, and it was only that big because I got the chance to be on the court a lot. But it was easy for me, to be honest. I was shooting layups and I was playing defence. That is fine. That’s easy. I was really surprised by everyone’s reaction. They were all: ‘You’re playing well. You’re playing great. Keep it up.’ I was like ‘OK.’ I thought it was easy, but cool.

“Honestly, it is hard when you’re not touching the ball but you have to find your role and be effective in the game and not worry about touches and what else is going on. You just have to worry about what you’re trying to do.”

This is exactly the attitude he has to have every game now that he’s playing with James and Wade on a nightly basis.

Forget the fact that he’s averaging 14.9 points a game. Or that he’s averaging 11 shots a game while Wade and James are chucking up 17 and 15 a night respectively.

Bosh made his mark in Beijing because he put a premium on his defence and rebounding. He scored 9.1 points a game in Beijing. Six other players scored more than he did on that U.S. team. It didn’t matter because his team-leading 6.1 rebounds a night and his tenacious defence earned him the respect that he seems to crave right now but can’t get.

Already Bosh is becoming the easy target for national media types like Jason Whitlock, who in a recent article suggested Bosh has been so ineffective he could see Pat Riley trading him by December.

And while you can quibble about Whitlock’s disregard for what Bosh did in Toronto, you can’t argue at this stage in the season that Bosh is not exactly pulling his share of the weight in the Big Three.

In the three Miami losses to date, Bosh has gone up against Kevin Garnett, Emeka Okafor, and Paul Millsap. Combined those three head-to-head matches, Bosh has scored 40 points and pulled down 18 rebounds. In those games he is a combined -20. His covers have scored a total of 82 points, pulled down 32 rebounds and are a plus-nine.

Those numbers are going to get you noticed for all the wrong reasons.

Bosh may not be happy with his numbers on the offensive end, but what he should really be concerned about is what opponents are doing against him.

That is what is going to decide whether he gets that opportunity to fight for a title or not and he shouldn’t need a head to head with LeBron to figure that out.

mike.ganter@sunmedia.ca


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