Before the first question was launched Chris Bosh's way following practice at the Air Canada Centre Tuesday, the Raptors' all-star forward noticed the sun had peeked through the windows located on two sides of the practice facility.
The big forward was trying to keep things upbeat.
However, it didn’t take long for the media to add a little grey to the surroundings.
Bosh was asked if Wednesday’s game at home against the Detroit Pistons was crucial, given the fact that, afterwards, they play seven of the next eight games on the road, all against Western Conference teams.
A loss against Detroit would put Toronto at 1-3 heading into the tough road swing.
Bosh, who, individually, has started off this season in impressive style, claimed not to be aware of the extended road trip on the horizon. But, yes, he admitted, a win against the Pistons Wednesday would be a good thing considering.
“You take it for what it is,” said Bosh, of the club’s tough early schedule. “But the trip will be a chance for our team to come together a little a bit.”
One of the themes during the early part of this season for the Raptors has been chemistry. With nine new faces, head coach Jay Triano said it is crucial for the team to come together as quick as possible, and Bosh said perhaps an early road trip will be a positive in that regard.
“We have to hope that it is. We have no choice,” he said.
While the Raptors are still finding their legs as a team, Bosh certainly hasn’t been slow out of the blocks. The seven-year Raptor, who spent the off-season working unusually hard to build up his strength and endurance, is in the top three in the NBA in both points (31.3 per game) and rebounds (14.7) — with the idea of keeping it that way throughout the season.
“I’m just trying to stay consistent,” he said. “That’s my main thing this year. Last year I got off to a really good start, and I really, really digressed as the season went on. So I’m trying to keep it steady this year. Not only for the second half of the season, but the second half of games.”
His new found strength (Bosh put on close to 20 pounds) was evident on Sunday when he grabbed Orlando strongman Dwight Howard and pinned his arms to his side so he couldn’t get a basket on a foul call.
“In the past, Dwight might have been able to break through those arms and go up and do something,” said Triano. “This time, Chris held him down and held on to him.
“The work that Chris did in the off season, building up his body and building up his strength, is going to pay dividends in the second half of the season because he can withstand more,” added Triano. “He can withstand more minutes, he can withstand more of a pounding and I think that’s given him a lot of confidence.”
The Raptors haven’t had any trouble scoring so far this season, averaging 108.0 points through their first three games (seventh in the NBA). But they’re still struggling trying to adapt to the club’s new defensive schemes, giving up 110.33 points per game.