| 5 years ago||
Weird. Bosh used to say him and bron were good friends back when he was playing with the raptors.
I thought the same thing
The conversation was about connection.
Forward Chris Bosh approached teammate LeBron James on Friday night during the Heat's return flight from New Orleans and wanted to talk -- a simple chat between new friends, friends who still had a lot to learn about each other. It was about basketball, but it was also about bonding. Six games into this grand experiment and things were not happening as easily for Bosh as he had originally envisioned.
``I was just honest,'' Bosh said. ``I get a little lost out there because it's different.''
Bosh's numbers are down to begin the season, but he insists that finding himself on the court among his new teammates cannot be measured by statistics. Bosh was averaging 13.3 points and 5.5 rebounds before Saturday's win over the Nets.
He's not the offensive funnel he once was in Toronto -- where he averaged over 22 points in his final five seasons with the Raptors -- but said that doesn't matter.
Publicly, Bosh has said the only statistic he cares about is winning. The Heat (5-2) did not win Friday night and Bosh's reticent demeanor on the court was an obvious factor in the game's outcome.
``I've kind of been on my heels for the first part of the season, so I'm starting to figure it out; it's starting to come to me,'' he said after Saturday's 101-89 victory against the Nets. ``But at the end of the day, I just have to be aggressive. That's what it's all about.''
A day before Saturday's win, Bosh had 15 points but only one rebound and was thoroughly outplayed by Hornets' forward Emeka Okafor, who had 26 points and 13 rebounds.
Afterward, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra voiced his displeasure with his team's energy level and lack of aggressiveness.
Bosh took the constructive criticism to heart. He was lost and needed to improve. He had to reestablish his former self but also find his new role playing alongside James and Dwyane Wade. He needed to have that conversation with James, the team's catalyst.
``I wanted to talk to [James] and really just get to know each other, really,'' Bosh said. ``I think that's an important process of team-building. You have to know the guy who's standing next to you.
``We have a system but at the same time when the game is happening so fast, sometimes I just get lost. I don't know whether to cut, whether to go, whether to get back and playing with those two talented guys . . . it happens real fast. So, I just let [James] know that.''
Said James: ``I knew a little bit about Chris. I know a lot more now. From [Friday] night's conversation he was able to open up to me and I was able to listen and get a good feel for where he's coming from.''
Bosh and James talked Xs and Os on the team flight but they also went beneath the surface. With the speed at which James and Wade play the game, understanding the thought process behind a decision made in a microsecond goes beyond learning subtle tendencies. It's about a personal connection.
``Looking on paper, LeBron and Chris and D-Wade are great basketball players, but I think what I got out of the whole conversation is us getting to know each other on a personal level and that's -- when you can do that it makes the game much easier,'' James said.
Bosh responded Saturday night with a season-high 21 points and five rebounds to go along with two blocks. More importantly, Bosh and the Heat's other post players were able to limit Nets center Brooks Lopez to 12 points and three rebounds in 31 minutes.
Bosh shot 50 percent from the field (6 of 12) and also made 9 of 10 free throws. Saturday also was the first time this season that Bosh, James and Wade each scored more than 20 points.
The three stars played fluidly together throughout the game, especially in the transition game.
``I think that conversation definitely helped and I think it showed in [Bosh's] play,'' James said. ``This was the most efficient game he's had. This is the most efficient game -- I mean, we all shot 50 or better percent from the field.''
James scored 23 points on 9-of-16 shooting against the Nets. Wade had 29 points on 10 of 17 from the field.
For Spoelstra, the numbers do not matter this early in the season. It's about effort and cohesion and Bosh showed improvement on Saturday.
``[Saturday] was about a nameless, faceless opponent,'' Spoelstra said. ``We needed to really come back and establish our toughness, our disposition defensively and the guys really took that to heart and I was glad that they were having fun out there.