Bosh back with a bang

Raptors' Chris Bosh gets in the face of Timberwolves' Ryan Hollins during the second quarter of a...

Raptors' Chris Bosh gets in the face of Timberwolves' Ryan Hollins during the second quarter of a preseason game, Oct. 9, 2009 in Minneapolis.(AP Photo/Tom Olmscheid)

PHIL MILLER, SPECIAL TO SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:26 AM ET

MINNEAPOLIS -- Can't expect a guy coming off a hamstring strain, an athlete who missed every two-a-day workout and has yet to take part in a full practice with his revamped team, to make an impact right away when he comes back. And so it was last night for Raptors all-star forward Chris Bosh, who clearly needed some time to evaluate his physical status in his first pre-season game.

Seven seconds, easy. Maybe eight.

Then Bosh took a pass down low from Jose Calderon, muscled his way past Kevin Love, and laid home the night's first basket, an emphatic I'm-back announcement from the Raptors' veteran leader that helped spark Toronto to its first pre-season victory, 112-97 over the Minnesota Timberwolves.

"I wanted to come out super-aggressive to see where I was with my condition," said Bosh, sidelined 10 days by a hamstring injury suffered just before training camp. "I said: 'Come right at me.' "

They did, and Bosh's addition did wonders for Toronto's offence.

"We moved and shared the basketball," head coach Jay Triano said. "One more of our pieces was in there, and it looked like it was a fit for everybody."

Bosh scored nine points, sank a three-pointer, collected seven rebounds and generally allayed any concern about his absence from the team's first week.

Only thing he couldn't do was meet Triano's playing-time target.

"We tried to let him go for six minutes at the beginning, but he fatigued before that," Triano said of Bosh's four-minute, 26-second stint in the first quarter.

"He's going to have to build up the endurance to go as intensely as he did for longer periods of time."

Shouldn't be a problem, Bosh said.

"I came out earlier than six minutes, but it's a start," he said. "(Tomorrow) will be a really good measuring stick, just to see how fast my body's going to react to this. Hopefully I'll be able to go five minutes without getting tired this time."

Bosh played another 6:43 to open the second quarter, then sat down for good, having impressed his coach and teammates with his intensity and instincts, if not his wind capacity.

"Looked ready to go,'' point guard Jose Calderon said.

"He goes all-out."

"As far as his coverages, he was very good, and I thought he had some nice moves to the basket too," Triano said. "It was nice to see that.

" Sometimes (when) you first come back, you're rusty, you look lethargic. But he looked like he had balance."

A little feistiness, too.

Bosh got tangled with Wolves' rookie centre Ryan Hollins while converting a putback in the second quarter, then turned and stood toe-to-toe with Hollins and made clear his objections to the play. Teammates intervened, but both players were assessed a technical foul.

"A hard foul's a hard foul, but don't hit guys after the whistle," Bosh complained.

"I kept feeling (I was) getting hit, and I'm like, 'C'mon, wrap me up, I'm not going anywhere.'

"A hard foul is fine, (but) I felt it was excessive."

Toronto hit 68 percent of its shots in the first quarter, opened a 23-point lead, and was never seriously threatened afterward. Andrea Bargnani made 8 of 11 shots, with two of his three misses from three-point range, to lead Toronto with 21 points, and four Raptors added 11 points apiece. "Andrea was very solid," Triano said. "He's a lot more calm and composed in the low block."


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