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FIBA World Championships - Elimination Round Raptors Update

Maybe it was Chris Bosh's matchups against Australia.

Maybe it was his comments broadcast throughout the national media.

Or maybe it was simply his recent play in practice and in the US's final pre-elimination round game that dictated the amount of playing time he saw in Team USA's 113-73 crushing of Australia yesterday.

Bosh had his best game of the tourney playing 18 minutes while scoring 12 points and grabbing nine boards. Watching him live, (the game was broadcast last night at midnight on RaptorsTV) it was a joy to see him playing with the confidence and fluidity that he's displayed here in Toronto over the past few seasons. A back-door cut and flush set up by Lebron James was particularly spectacular and seemed to buoy CB4's play for the rest of the match. Bosh even stepped outside to hit a 3 with ease and while the US triumphed easily, many of Bosh's minutes came early in the game when it was still close - an encouraging sign for Raptor fans.

Elsewhere saw Spain take care of Darko Milicic and Serbia & Montenegro 87-75 thanks in part to the Raptors' José-Manuel Calderon. Calderon had eight of Spain'st first 13 points and finished with 13 points, four assists and three steals. He was simply too quick for Serbia & Montenegro's defenders driving past them time and time again to either get to the rim (he was three for three from the free-throw line) or draw the defence to find open team-mates.

While Pau Gasol was on the receiving end of many of these Calderon passes so was future Raptor team-mate Jorge Garbajosa. Garbajosa finished with only six points and three rebounds (he simply couldn't get his outside shot to fall going 0 for 4) but he did make six of his eight free-throw attempts and once again, did the little things to help his club get the win.

With Spain and the US moving on, that leaves one other team in the tournament who we've been paying considerable attention to - Slovenia. Housing current Raptors, Rasho Nesterovic and Uros Slokar, the Slovenians were in tight against a tough Turkish squad. Nesterovic had his typical strong game with 14 points, five rebounds and a block but Slovenia lost 90-84.

For Slokar however, the game ended an up-and-down tourney for him in terms of playing time - and nowhere was this more evident than in the final game in which Uros DID NOT PLAY. This must have been incredibly frustrating for the young Raptors' forward but hopefully the tournament experience was not all for naught. Slokar did have some extremely solid games and showed his ability to compete and be successful agains the World's best.

Next up for the remaining three Raptors participating - Bosh and Team USA take on Dirk Nowitzki and Germany while Calderon and Garbajosa help lead Spain against Lithuania.