Bosh itching to get back

MIKE GANTER -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:46 AM ET

SACRAMENTO -- It's unavoidable. Every time Sam Mitchell throws in a tape to scout an opponent his Raptors are playing for the second time, he is taunted as a man on a diet is taunted by the leftover piece of chocolate cake.

Invariably, somewhere on that tape, usually in quite a few places, Mitchell will come across a series in which Chris Bosh gets the ball in his hands in the vicinity of the opposing basket and every member of the defence reacts.

And every time he sees that, it hammers home how hard it is to play without Chris Bosh.

It happened again yesterday morning when Mitchell threw in a tape of the Raptors' 116-91 win over the Sacramento Kings at the Air Canada Centre in January. Bosh, well out of the paint but obviously still a concern, made a hard move toward the middle from about 18 feet and the entire Kings team started to collapse on him.

Bosh read this quickly, pitched it out to a wide-open Jason Kapono, who had a great look at a three. Even when the shot missed, Kris Humphries drove the lane uncontested to grab the rebound and toss it back to Kapono, who still was open and didn't miss the second time.

"That's what people don't understand," Mitchell said of Bosh's impact. "Think about it. When Kobe Bryant catches the ball, what do we tell our team to do? (Collapse on him). Everyone get a foot in the paint. Kobe catches it out here (at the top of the block), you have a foot in the paint and he makes that hard pass to the perimeter, you can't get to that guy."

Mitchell isn't comparing Bosh to Bryant but, in Toronto, Bosh is to the Raptors what Bryant is to the Lakers in L.A. Without him in the lineup, everything becomes more difficult.

That is why Bosh's declaration Saturday that he's pain-free again and merely needs a little time to strengthen his body before he returns, is such a big deal.

Bosh has been a reluctant spectator these past eight games and admits watching his team struggle has been tough.

"Sometimes we get rolling, but if you've watched it, most times we are struggling offensively ... and defensively."

Bosh believes his absence has been felt even more on the defensive end.

"I make an effort to talk and try to be athletic (on defence)," Bosh said. "I try to be a presence on the boards on the defensive end and I try to be where I am supposed to be when I'm supposed to be there and I think that alone helps the defence out a lot."

Bosh isn't promising instant changes when he gets back, whether it's Wednesday night for the Miami Heat or Friday night in Cleveland, but he's fully expecting to make things better.

"Hopefully when I come back all of that will come to and end because I demand certain things out of my teammates and out of myself," Bosh said. "I hope all these defensive lapses and stagnant offences, I hope all that changes."

Mitchell says it would be wrong to consider Bosh's imminent return a cure-all for everything ailing the team, but it's obvious to anyone who has been watching this team without him that a healthy Chris Bosh is going to fix a lot.


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