School of hard knocks

Chris Bosh got a taste of playoff basketball when he faced the defence of the Detroit Pistons over...

Chris Bosh got a taste of playoff basketball when he faced the defence of the Detroit Pistons over the weekend. (Sun Media File/Dave Abel)

ROB LONGLEY -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:48 AM ET

It came a week early and in Detroit rather than Las Vegas, but Raptors forward Chris Bosh got a taste of the all-star treatment on the weekend.

Not from the fans, voters or media but from a Detroit Pistons team that gave Bosh and the Raptors a sneak preview of what lies ahead in the team's push for the post-season.

"That was a playoff game in February," teammate T.J. Ford said of the rough ride the Pistons gave the Raptors in general and Bosh specifically on Saturday night.

"Going into the playoffs, (Bosh) may see these defences.

"It gave him a good opportunity to be familiar when teams play him that way, when teams put two, three, four guys around him."

Bothered much of the night by the Pistons' Rasheed Wallace, Bosh was held to 14 points while shooting 5-for-15. It was the first time he had been held to less than 20 points since Jan. 9.

Typical of his rapid rise to stardom though, Bosh took it as a lesson learned.

"It's tough," said Bosh, who will be in Vegas this weekend for the league's all-star festivities. "I just have to make sure I do my part studying how teams play me.

"Sometimes I have to be a decoy, maybe drive for the basket, draw a double team. I'm curious to see how I do. It's not that easy -- that's why legends are made in the playoffs."

The 98-92 loss to Detroit, the top team in the Eastern Conference, hardly was cause for concern, especially since the Raptors were in it late and were riding a five-game win streak.

Bosh and his teammates have two more stern tests before the break, further opportunities to show those around the league how far they have come.

Tonight they are in Chicago against a Bulls team that has a 15-game winning streak over the Raptors, including eight in a row at the United Center. How long has that miserable run been? Bosh wasn't even in the league when the Raps previously beat the Bulls back in 2002.

Tomorrow, the Raps play host to the New Jersey Nets in another battle between the top two teams in the Atlantic.

"These next two games going to be big for us," Raptors forward Morris Peterson said. "We definitely want to measure ourselves against some of the tough teams because after the all-star break, that's when teams are going to turn it up three or four notches.

"With us being in first place in our division, we're going to get teams' best games every night. We're going to get people marking us on our calendar."

That Bosh will be the marked man doesn't worry his teammates, who figure he is up to the challenge.

"It's something new to him, something every superstar player went through," Ford said. "So next time out, he'll be more prepared and he'll know the things he can get away with."


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