Ford puts up star numbers

STEVE BUFFERY

, Last Updated: 8:41 AM ET

T.J. Ford likely will not get picked to play in the NBA all-star game this season.

But he is starting to put together an all-star calibre season.

The first year Raptor has averaged 25 points and 8.7 assists in his past three games and led the Raptors to last-minute victories in recent games against the Minnesota Timberwolves, Portland Trail Blazers and Los Angeles Clippers. He is currently eighth in the NBA in assists per game (8.2) and is tied for second with Andre Miller of the Philadelphia 76ers in assists per 48 minutes (12.1)

Still, when asked about being mentioned as an all-star, Ford was underwhelmed.

"I don't know," he said. "That's for the fans and for the coaches to (decide) I'm just playing. That is a personal goal, a personal achievement. Would I want to be in an all star game? Yes, but it's up to the coaches and the fans."

There's no doubt, though, that Ford is playing with a little more swagger on the court these days.

"But all the great players have some type of swagger, some type of attitude," he said. "That's the way that I have to play. Off the court I'm not a cocky guy. I'm down to earth. But you have to play with some type of swagger."

BOSH SECOND

Despite going on the inactive list on Dec. 10 because of a sore left knee and missing the past 10 games, Toronto forward Chris Bosh is still receiving the love from the NBA fans. Bosh is second among Eastern Conference forwards after the second returns of all-star balloting. Bosh, who made his first all-star game last season, has collected 497,283 votes. The leading vote-getter in the East is LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers with 1,323,989. James leads all players in the East and injured centre Yao Ming of the Houston Rockets leads the West, with 1,411,923.

AROUND THE RIM

Forward Fred Jones did not take part in practice yesterday because of flu-like symptoms ... Raptors head coach Sam Mitchell dismissed suggestions that his team has some type of mental block in terms of playing the Chicago Bulls. The Bulls have defeated the Raptors in 14 consecutive games, including six in a row at the Air Canada Centre. But Mitchell said most of his players aren't even aware of the streak, given the fact there are nine new faces on the squad.


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