Bosh back in big way

MIKE KOREEN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 10:03 AM ET

It was tough to tell who was more excited last night -- the sellout crowd of 19,832 or Chris Bosh.

Displaying outward emotion he rarely shows, Bosh bounced back from a poor season opener in impressive fashion to delight the amped-up Raptors fans at the Air Canada Centre.

Bosh, who admitted he was out of shape after missing half of the pre-season with a heel injury, dominated in every aspect as the Raptors beat the Milwaukee Bucks 109-92 in Toronto's home opener.

After one of many excellent defensive stands in the fourth quarter, Bosh was so energized that when teammate Fred Jones put his hand up for his teammate to slap, the all-star used his head for a unique high five.

"(The emotion) was because of the last game (a loss to the New Jersey Nets) and I'm tired of losing to be honest," Bosh said after a 26-point, 15-rebound evening. "I don't want to go back to the way things were the year before that, the year before that.

"The attitude is different (this season). We expect to be a good team, we expect to work hard, we expect to win."

The Raptors did just that to even their record at 1-1, a bit better than last season's embarrassing 0-9 start.

The list of positives could fill pages. Speedy point guard T.J. Ford was all over the floor again for 13 points and 11 assists. Rasho Nesterovic quietly played a critical role on offence and defence and Anthony Parker, Jones and Morris Peterson to contribute some terrific defence.

A horrible defensive team last year, the Raptors stepped up in the fourth quarter as the Bucks hit just seven of 22 shots, allowing Toronto (12-for-18) to break open a four-point lead.

For the game, the Raptors shot 53% to the Bucks' 44.

"Coach has been preaching defence, defence," said Bosh, who started his game with two thunderous dunks. "We let our defence turn into fast breaks. When you get the rebound (and) the ball is still alive, we kick it out to the guards and our wings are so good at running."

The other noticeable difference last night was the crowd. After booing or staying home for most of the past four non-playoff seasons, there was a definite buzz as fans got their first glimpse at the revamped roster.

"I haven't seen this place rocking like that in so long," Peterson said. "It was crazy in here. I can only imagine it as the season progresses. Our fans are our sixth man."

Bosh won his individual matchup against ex-Raptor Charlie Villanueva, who left with a pulled right hamstring in the fourth quarter after a solid night of his own (17 points, 11 rebounds).

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REPORT CARD

B+ Offence: The Raptors shot 53% from the field and 43% from beyond the arc, both totals noticeably better than in their opening loss to New Jersey.

B Defence: Toronto outrebounded the Bucks 44-38 -- an Achilles heel last year -- and held Milwaukee star Michael Redd to just 15 points.


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