MIAMI Chris Bosh is out of the prediction business.
Bosh before last season said the Miami Heat were the best team in the NBA and he would average 10 rebounds. He went 1 for 2.
Boshs Heat won the NBA title. But he averaged just 7.9 rebounds.
Yeah, Bosh said about about leaving his soothsayer ways behind. Everybody prints, Oh, Chris Bosh says going to (do this). I said one year in Toronto Id love to average (a certain number) in blocks and steals, and it got printed. Id rather just not even worry about it. Worry about the game, and if it happens, it happens.
So even though Bosh on Wednesday against Milwaukee grabbed 18 rebounds, his most in three seasons with Miami, he wouldnt budge when asked if it was a sign he could average 10 boards this season. The board feast on Thanksgiving eve raised his season average from 7.3 to 8.2.
Well, Bosh should average 10 per game. Hes now starting at center, and hes got to step it up on the boards for a team being outrebounded by an average of 1.8 per game.
The 6-foot-11 Bosh has averaged 10 or more three times in his 10-year career, with Toronto in 2006-07, 2008-09 and 2009-10. But Boshs best showing so far with Miami has been 8.3 two years ago. Let him explain why he hasnt been able to get to double digits.
When you have me and (Udonis Haslem), Dwyane (Wade) and LeBron (James) on the court, not only do you have to compete with other guys, but you have to compete with your teammates too, Bosh said. That kind of divides the numbers up a little bit.
The competition for boards actually is less than it was last season, when Bosh was starting at power forward. The Heat now rarely play a traditional center and Haslem is averaging a career lows in rebounds (5.1 average) and minutes played (17.4).
Boshs showing in the 113-106 overtime win over the Bucks is further proof he could average 10 boards with Miami if he really puts his mind to it. James sure believes he can.
We would love that, James said. That would help us out. Every night we go out and we want to rebound, and Chris can help us out with that, with which he does. And Im going to try to do my part as well. He has the ability to do it. Hes done it before in his career, so I know hes capable of it.
In a nice way, James is telling Bosh he need to hit the boards. The same message is coming from coach Erik Spoelstra, who also said Bosh is capable of averaging 10 and indicated it might come down to technique.
We want our biggest playmakers making those plays in traffic, and Chris has been concentrating on that more, Spoelstra said. The ball has been finding him. Hes been grabbing it with two hands. (Haslem) obvioiusly does that and LeBron can do that in a crowd. Its better (against Milwaukee), and we have to continue to get better with that.
Bosh doesnt agree he always has to grab boards with two hands, saying sometimes that gets me in trouble. Still, he acknowledges thats something he needs to improve upon.
Bosh needs to be more consistent. This season, hes had a game with three rebounds and two with four. But he helped save the Heat on Wednesday, when they relaxed after taking an 18-point lead and eventually fell behind by seven.
Its cool, Bosh said of getting his Heat high. Id like 20. But you cant have it all. Maybe another day. But its a great accomplishment for one game. Hopefully, I can keep it up.
But Bosh is offering no predictions on that. Hes out of that business.
Whos Hot: This should be renamed the LeBron James category. Perhaps hes trying to become the first NBA player never to have one bad game in a season. James has scored 20 or more points in the seasons first 12 games, the first time hes done that in his 10-year career. Hes won the past two Eastern Conference Player of the Week awards, giving him 39 for his career.
Whos Not: Bosh from 3-point range. There was talk before the season about how he was even going to be more of a weapon in that area. Hes just 2 of 12 for 16.7 percent. Bosh last season shot 10 of 35 for 28.6 percent.
Who Doesnt Care if hes Not: Heat forward Shane Battier is one of the NBAs few players who can go scoreless and have it not be a bad game. Battier shot 0 of 4 from the field against the Bucks, but he had seven rebounds and played solid defense in 38 minutes. His plus-minus for the night was plus-8.
1. Wade smartly was shut down for two games due to some nagging injuries before he returned Wednesday and looked like the old D-Wade, scoring 28 points. Wade had missed time after suffering a sprained left foot to add to a jammed right thumb and to his ongoing recovering from left knee surgery in July. Its getting better, Wade said of the foot. Its not 100 perecent, but it was good enough. And Wade was good enough to quiet recently rumblings that the Heat, who are 17-3 the past two seasons with Wade sidelined, actually are better without him. No, theyre not. And Wade showed that Wednesday in a game they probably would have lost without him.
2. Rashard Lewis is a wanted man again. When the forward sat out against the Bucks due to illness, it was noticeable. The Heat had just one bench player score more than three points as they struggled to beat the Bucks. Lewis, who was a shadow of his old self the previous two seasons while battling knee problems, is shooting 52.6 percent from the field, including 53.6 percent from 3-point range, while averaging 7.2 points. Lewis said hell be good to go Saturday against Cleveland. It was a little bug, Bosh said. They had me sit out (Wednesday) and recover a little bit.
3. The Heat are making it work with their two-headed point guard of starter Mario Chalmers and reserve Norris Cole. With Chalmers getting four in 22 minutes against the Bucks and Cole's six in 17 minutes, the two combined for 10 assists against the Bucks. There are still going to be periods each game in which James runs the point, something he did for 14 minutes Wednesday. But the Heat cant be too displeased about their tag-team point guards.
Quotes of the Week
No. No. No. No. I dont want nobody to be sick.
Wade, when asked if he does any cooking on Thanksgiving.
We all know No. 6 is No. 1 on the charts. Theres no secret about that.
Wade, talking about James clearly being No. 1 when asked if the Heat dont always have defined No. 1, No. 2 and No. 3 scoring options.
He just congratulated me and made the guys (in the locker room) say UD on three. For me, I never want it to be about me. I was kind of a little embarrassing, but Im thankful for everything.
Haslem, who doesnt like the limelight, on what Spoelstra had the players do after Wednesdays game to acknowledge Haslem becoming the top rebounder in Heat history.
Its more consistency right now. Weve shown that we can play our defense in key moments and during stretches. We know our guys are very mature. They have a lot of experience. They know thats not good enough to have an on-and-off switch, and so its about consistency.
Spoelstra, on using the Heat having a number practices during this ongoing homestand to shore up the teams defense, which has has been up and down.Numbers Game
25.7 James scoring average in seven games against Cleveland since leaving the Cavaliers for the Heat in the summer of 2010. Thats nearly two points below his career average of 27.6.
3 Duke alums to have won NBA titles, with Battier having done it last season. The only other Blue Devils to go all the way in the NBA have been Jeff Mullins with Golden State in 1975 and Danny Ferry with San Antonio in 2003.
5 Players currently on the Heat that have competed in the 3-point contest during All-Star Weekend. They are Chalmers, Lewis, Ray Allen, James Jones and Mike Miller.
2 Players currently on the Heat to have won the contest. Jones was the 2011 champion and Allen won with Milwaukee in 2001,
The Heat, who before Wednesday hadnt played since last Saturday, have another relaxing stretch of games. After Saturdays home affair with Cleveland, they dont play again until next Thursday at home to San Antonio. That game will be dubbed a possible Finals preview or at least the first of six such matchups. Miami also has a game on the road against the Spurs and home-and-away dates with Oklahoma City and the Los Angeles Lakers.
Tower of Power?
It hasnt always been pretty, but 9-3 Miami is on pace to win 60 games. Thats certainly Tower of Power worthy. The Heats record soon could really get gaudy, since Wednesday they began a stretch of 10 of 11 and 12 of 14 games at home. And several of them are against mediocre foes.
Chris Tomasson can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @christomasson