Bosh lays it on the line

STEVE BUFFERY -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:34 AM ET

SEATTLE -- The development of Chris Bosh as the heart, soul and conscience of the Raptors ascended to yet another level this week, specifically after Toronto's 101-96 loss to the Portland Trail Blazers.

The Raptors were feeling pretty good about themselves heading into the Portland game on Wednesday night, having banged out a hard-fought, 80-77 win over the Los Angeles Clippers at the Staples Center the previous evening.

The win in L.A. was a big relief to both the players and head coach Sam Mitchell, who were looking for a good start to a gruelling, seven-game road swing in the west, with a short break for the Christmas holidays.

But after blowing a seven-point lead in the fourth quarter in the Portland loss, Bosh afterwards called out both himself, and his teammates, for becoming negative and selfish in the way they have been treating each other.

Bosh said there has been a trend in the past couple of games where the players have responded to adversity on the court, such as missed jump shots and blown defensive assignments, with negativity, instead of positive support. And that, he stressed, could eat away at what is considered one of the best locker rooms in the NBA, and could eventually cost the club some games down the road.

"We have to just encourage each other, that's what I think we can do better," said Bosh, the team's co-captain along with Anthony Parker. "The NBA is hard, playing in the league is hard, playing a team at home that has won eight games (in a row) is hard. What we're doing right now, we can do better. If we encourage each other, we'll shoot the ball with more confidence, we'll rebound with confidence, we'll play with confidence."

Bosh said bickering during the loss to Portland on Wednesday reflected in the way they shot the ball, especially in the fourth quarter when they hit just 32% from the field. That's the type of damage negativity can cause, Bosh said.

"We're playing aggressive, but we're kind of hoping we don't mess up. We can't do that. You see the Blazers, they're shooting the ball. Brandon Roy is shooting the ball. Martell Webster is shooting the ball, and they're just letting it go, they're shooting with confidence," the 23-year-old, two-time NBA all-star said. "They're shooting to make the shot. They're not hoping it goes in. Martell Webster is at the half court before it even goes in. He just knows it's going in. We have to be that way. We have to show confidence like that."

Bosh stressed there is a silver lining to the bickering, as it demonstrates they are hungry for victories.

"I think guys want to win so bad, it's like, we get on each other," he said. "(But) there's a time to get on each other, and there's also a time to encourage each other. You're going to have low times and you're going to have highs, but when you're that low, you have to continue to pick each other up."

The Raptors (15-12) go against Seattle tonight.


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