Bosh isn't right

FRANK ZICARELLI, Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 11:06 PM ET

Something is amiss with Chris Bosh, a glitch in his game that isn’t easily explainable or definable.

There was a time when Bosh would get to the line as quickly as opposing defences would send an extra defender, whether Bosh caught the ball or take a dribble.

On nights when Bosh’s silky smooth jumper was off, he’d still get points by getting to the line and converting.

Then came that unfortunate twist of fate in the first game since the all-star break when Bosh sprained his ankle in a heartbreaking loss to Memphis in overtime.

Bosh hasn’t been the same since and neither have the Raptors, who showed a long-overdue and a much-needed sense of urgency and fight against the Denver Nuggets on Friday night.

Bosh’s history always has included a stretch of inactivity caused by some injury.

Bosh’s recent history also includes a quick and MVP-type start to the season followed by a period of average play.

Those who like to bash Bosh point to his contract year and how he took until this past off-season to bulk up, which in turn would put him in a better position to fully capitalize on his free-agent status.

You’d like to give Bosh the benefit of the doubt because he has persevered through some difficult times in Toronto and is at least accountable.

But one has to start to wonder just how healthy Bosh is, just how capable he is to put the Raptors on his shoulders for the balance of the season.

His numbers aren’t as good, his body movement isn’t as smooth and he’s not nearly in sync as he was earlier in the season.

He has become turnover-prone and passive, not sure whether to attack, which makes the offence static and unproductive.

His biggest asset right now is his jumper, a step-back release that won a game last week against Atlanta late in regulation.

But for Bosh to be a presence and for the Raptors to be taken seriously again, he must be aggressive and he must get to the foul line.

Bosh struggles against the Nuggets because of Kenyon Martin, one of the league’s most intimidating players who is among the very best at defending his position.

Even the most casual fan wouldn’t recognize Johan Petro, who started for an injured Martin.

When Petro wasn’t in the game, the Nuggets threw Nene at Bosh.

They also threw some double teams, but nothing that Bosh hasn’t seen before.

There should have been more from Bosh, but there wasn’t.

There are still games that await, but none loom as large as the next two, back-to-back road affairs in Miami and Charlotte.

By late Monday night, the playoff picture may be clearer, Toronto’s fate more certain than uncertain.

Neither the Heat nor the Bobcats have anyone capable of defending Bosh.

Regardless of who is defending Bosh, he has got to play better.

When he took Nene off the dribble in the fourth quarter, Bosh tried to finish the sequence with a reverse layup.

The ball barely touched iron.

When he was healthy, Bosh would have dunked the ball because there was no help defence.

On another sequence, he had Nene in an iso on the left wing. Bosh caught the ball, turned to face the basket and heaved a jumper that had no chance of dropping.

With 3:23 left, Bosh made his first trip to the line when he took Nene off the dribble, converting one free throw to give Toronto a three-point lead.

He produced his first basket in the period a minute later, his only make from the floor in the period.

When Bosh missed a free throw with 16.3 ticks left, the Nuggets had last shot and Carmelo Anthony sent the Raptors to their most disheartening loss of the season, a 97-96 setback, on a scrambled play.

The Bosh miss and the Melo make pretty much sums up these Raptors.

Something is amiss and if it isn’t righted, they may miss the post-season.

frank.zicarelli@sunmedia.ca


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