Bosh truly is a breath of fresh air

STEVE SIMMONS -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 7:29 AM ET

It is barely a season into Chris Bosh's professional basketball life and it's hard to know which crisis affected him the most.

The general manager who drafted him got fired.

Right after that, his first head coach disappeared.

Before that, Antonio Davis, his apparent mentor, whined his way out of town and into a worse situation in Chicago.

And later, Vince Carter quit then left, in no particular order.

Bosh turns 21 in March.

"Unreal," he said, "the difference between then and now."

Ten years of turmoil packed into just over 14 months. One day he was a spare part, the new kid in class, and now he plays the role of last man standing.

Just like that.

Suddenly -- Morris Peterson's career night aside -- Bosh has become the Raptors go-to guy.

The star in waiting.

He started in his regular position at power forward for the Raptors last night against the visiting Boston Celtics. As for the rest of the starting lineup -- Rafer Alston, Eric Williams, MoPete, Jimmy Hoffa, the centre -- none of them were starters a year ago.

Hell, most of them weren't starters a month ago.

The Raptors and Canadian weather have a lot in common: Wait 15 minutes and both are likely to change. But in all of their many storms, the youngest Raptor often seems the most composed.

A kid in an adult's body who doesn't act like a kid. Remarkably unaffected. He looks at you when you ask a question. He makes eye contact. You have no idea how unusual that makes him.

Last night, Bosh had his career-high scoring night, 26 points, and it was the eighth time the sophomore has scored more than 20. The team's record in those games: 8-and-0.

"The minute I start thinking I have to get 20 is the minute I start taking ill-advised shots," Bosh said. "I can't think that way. I have to take what they give me."

And every night, they give him something. Bosh is too tall to be a small forward, too quick to be covered by power forward. He is what Isiah Thomas used to love, a player you can't necessarily define by a number. The Celtics tried to cover him with small and quick last night and Bosh ate them up. He went to the free throw line 18 times -- that's about five games worth for the quitter Vince Carter -- and accounted for 14 of his points that way.

This is what Bosh now understands. He can't play any one way.

"My game mentally and physically is so much better than it was a year and a half ago," he said. "The minute I misuse my responsibility and stop working, it will really show.'

An interesting turn of phrase. Misuse his responsibility? Wonder who or what he's referring to?

The departure of Carter, both in body and spirit, all but coincides with the arrival of Bosh as an NBA force.

REBOUNDS

Twenty six points last night. Twenty-one on Sunday. Twenty or more in four of the past five. The Raptors have won four of the past five. And more than 10 rebounds in all games.

"They're believing in Bosh," said Doc Rivers, the Celtics coach.

"They are playing through Bosh for the most part. It's a great luxury to have."

"I have to stay aggressive," Bosh said.

"I know now that works for me."


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