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Wasting Something Special North of the Border

A Daily Babble Production

Let's add one more to the list of disheartening facets of the Raptors' slow start for folks in Toronto: The team is making the least of the fact that Chris Bosh is playing out of his mind right now.

The sixth seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs a season ago, the Raps are off to a sluggish 8-11 beginning, and they have already bounced coach Sam Mitchell.  The Raps aren't executing well at either end of the floor, sitting 20th and 26th in offensive and defensive efficiency respectively.  They come off a three-game road trip out west in which they didn't come within single digits in any game, and they lost on Sunday afternoon at home to Portland on a buzzer-beater.  Their schedule hasn't been particularly favorable so far (two against the Celtics, visits from Detroit and to Orlando, Utah, Denver and the good Los Angeles), but they could still be playing a bit better.

As a fan of an Atlantic Division team, I'm not feeling a whole lot of sympathy for a squad whose gamble on Jermaine O'Neal is taking more time than expected to pay off.  I'm in no rush to see the Raps (a team I still believe capable of playing some very good basketball) get back on track, but it can't hurt to take a few moments to marvel at their power forward's play this season.

Bosh had already established himself as a model of consistency before this season.  Over the previous three years, he averaged better than 22 points per game each season, to go with rebounding figures of 9.2, 10.7 and 8.7 per game over that span.  He appeared in All-Star games in each of those campaigns.

Now, the man who is right there with Amare Stoudemire for honors as the best face-up big man in the game seems to be carrying even more of the load than ever before.  He is killing himself for this team on a nightly basis, averaging a league-leading 41 minutes per game, which makes him one of only two players in the Association to be logging more than 40 minutes per game (Stephen Jackson is the other). 

He is producing plenty in those minutes.  Bosh is averaging 26.1 points and 10.3 boards per game this season, and the amazing part is that he is getting his points on a career-best 61.2 percent true shooting.  Offensively, there is just so much that this guy can do.  He shoots the ball very well from anywhere inside the arc (and doesn't mind stepping out from time to time), but his ability to get to the rim keeps opponents honest.  Bosh may not have the bulk of a traditional big man, but his quickness and good first step help him get in the lane with ease against opposing frontcourt players.  Bosh is getting to the line eight times per game, where he shoots 84 percent.  Not a bad deal.  He also isn't averse to putting his back to the basket every now and then and making a hard spin move or turning for a high-release fadeaway over his man.

As he moves through his sixth season in the pros, Chris Bosh continues to grow increasingly difficult to guard.  His interior defense still leaves a bit to be desired, and it might not kill him to add some more strength for his work at either end of the floor, but he is nonetheless a true star in this league.  Known as one of the league's good guys, the Raptors' power forward is putting everything on the floor for his team each night, and he is certainly holding up his end of the bargain for the purple, red and black.

Now here's hoping his team continues to keep on falling short despite his efforts.

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