Not that I imagined him being a bust or a
disappointment, but watching him absolutely terrorize the Orlando Magic last night in Toronto’s convincing 113-103 win made me think back to CB4’s first few seasons in the league.
Great offensive player, but I just didn’t see the
emotion, defense and ball-handling abilities that I felt would take his play to another level.
In fact, after Bosh’s first two seasons I went so far as to say to my confederate Howland here at the HQ, that I couldn’t see Bosh developping into the next KG, but more of a Shareef Abdur-Rahim type. I just wasn’t sure if Bosh had the fire to lead the club and that perhaps he was more suited to play second fiddle to another star yet still average over 20 points and around 10 rebounds a game.
Besides at one point thinking that Lindsay Lohan was hot, I couldn’t have been more wrong.
CB4 has absolutely carried this club for most of the season and last night was another prime example.
He was 15 of 17 from the free-throw line.
13 of 25 from the field.
And more importantly - when his team needed a key
basket, Bosh answered and led his club to a win.
Therefore when the ACC fans chanted MVP last night, it made me think - could this indeed be possible?
Sure, the Raps for all their recent success probably won’t finish with 50 wins and it’s hard to see Bosh ending up in the running with the likes of Kobe, Nash and Nowitzki...this year.
I mean, he’s only 22!
Interestingly, on Tuesday, CNNSI.com considered the MVP possibility in the midst of their comparison between Bosh and Jermaine O'Neal.
And if this team can continue to build on this season's success and can consistently stay atop the East, there's no telling what sort of accolades will fall Bosh's way.
But I'm getting a bit ahead of myself here, as Bosh wasn't the only Raptor on the court last night. CB4's point guards were sensational as they both finished with 10 points and 11 rebounds.
Chris Bosh in an interview said that TJ Ford and Jose Calderon were playing like "men possessed" and man did he nail it on the head. The two were buzzsaws carving up the Magic and along with Bosh consistently made good decisions offensively to ge the win over Orlando.
As for Orlando, Dwight Howard was slightly overshawdowed by Bosh's 41 points but was simply unstoppable himself...when he got the ball. That's why I had to feel for Magic coach Brian Hill as while Howard was 13 of 14 from the field, Orlando simply didn't get him enough touches in the end and players like Carlos Arroyo and Hedo Turkoglu routinely broke plays to go one on five...unsuccesfully...
Maybe it was the chants of MVP that threw them off...because it certainly made me think...
For a while it was a feeling of anticipation.
Anticipation grew into excitement.
Now it is just weird.
You will have to excuse me if after years of losing and talking about "what if’s" has made the ride since January 1, 2007 a little mind boggling. How am I to react after what can only be described as a utopic 2007 as a Raptors fan?
Here are the facts:
- The team is 13-4 since January 1.
- The coach who is supposedly a "dead man walking" won coach of the month honours, is the coach of a first place team, and made Charles Barkley’s All-Star team.
- Our franchise player is hearing chants of "MVP" while heading to the line (a solid 17 times last night).
- After years of not being able to address the PG situation this team now features one of the, if not THE best one-two punch at the PG spot i the league.
- The team's number one pick is doing things that no-body expected at this point in time and is in the running for ROY.
- Maybe not on paper, but on the court the Raptors are more talented from top to bottom than any of the other teams in the East save maybe tow, or three clubs.
- The team is a whopping 10 games over .500 on its home floor.
What may I ask in going on here folks?! Is this for real? Ever since the HQ came into existence in May of 2005, never in our wildest dreams did we ever think things would turn around so fast. We were Babcock supporters to a degree and despite some obvious flaws felt he had a plan. We didn’t see a quick fix, and we acknowledged that fact and were ok living with it. So again, excuse me as I pick my jaw off the floor after another Raptors victory (this time against the Man-child Dwight Howard and the fast fading Orlando Magic,) because this team has been fixed and it has been fixed overnight.
I have attended my fair share of games over the past couple of years, and never, not once, not a single time have I ever entered a second half thinking, "The Raps have this, because this team is simply better than its opponent." Well tonight was a first and it was a strange and weird feeling.
Of course as good as the team as a collective was tonight, some serious props have to be given to CB4. With only ten points at the half the man from Texas took over and put a whipping on the Magic. That whipping took the form of 31 points in the last 24 minutes. Chris Bosh has to be loving it right now. Sure Toronto could offer him more money than anyone else, but you could see through the tough times this guy was all about winning. Well now he is experiencing the best of both worlds. He’s about to get seriously paid, and he is about to do some serious winning. This team is ahead of the curve at this point and there is nowhere to go but up.
So heading into the remainder of the season what can I as the fan expect from this team? It sure is hard not to have serious thoughts of not just making the play-offs but making a serious run. This team is 8-2 in its last ten games. That ties them with Phoenix and Detroit and only Dallas is better in the last ten. On the flip side, it is not completely unreasonable to think that this team could fall into a funk and watch the first half of the season slip away. It is weird being a fan right now because it is hard to know what to expect for the rest of the year. The basketball season is a long one and there is a ways to go.
One thing that will be sure to keep this team on the right track however is the ability to put up these statistics from last night's game on a regular basis: 31 assists and 9 turn-overs. That ratio is just amazing. Consider the team made 39 field-goals and that stat becomes...yeah you guessed it, mind-boggling.
With the Lakers, Pistons, Bulls, Nets, and Cavs on tap does anyone really know what to expect from the Raps? Could they go 5-0? Are they just as likely to go 0-5? Someone tell me, because right now, like many of you I am sure, I am a little shell-shocked and blown away from what I've been seeing.
This team won 27 games last year, and for those looking at the standings, it’s not hard to see that if they beat the Lakers on Friday they will have matched that total already.
Weird isn’t it.