Palindrome: the day before the day after

So I wake up and see that it’s 0102 2010. Same backwards and forwards. All those twenties and tens are nice to look at huh? I vaguely recall something about 2010 that had everyone’s interest for so long, but it’s not quite taking shape. Oh it’s there in my memory bank, but it’s not taking shape in reality as so many suggested for so long. 2010 is all about the twenties and the tens and little else, with 10 wins being the nicest of them all to look at.

With this palindrome day being followed up with Groundhog Day, I just have to applaud the backwards and forwards consistency of Chris Bosh. When Tim Duncan retires, I hope that Charles Barkley will be able to continue using the term to describe CB4. And I hope that he can still call him a Toronto Raptor, and that 10 win months keep piling up. This Groundhog Day is one that can be repeated over and over, gladly, from my vantage point. As long as he leads this team to the strong showing that seems all but apparent before the break, and continues to help the team improve right into the playoffs, then I think Chris Bosh and the Toronto Raptors have a good starting point to make the backwards/forwards equation of BC+CB equal continued success.

Meet the new Bosh – not the same as the old Bosh, even though the numbers, all those twenties and tens, are pretty similar. The added strength we’ve seen this season allows him to make better use of both hands while finishing at the rim, provide a sturdier inside presence on defense (that was him, on a so-so night, making a big impact with Kobe and maybe hurting him enough to impact that last shot), and stay in control without expending a ton of extra energy. He has more than one or two gears now. It’s not all about working his ass off just to get knocked to the ground. It’s not about making a million moves before losing his balance or letting the ball slip away. That improved center of gravity means everything, and it has become most noticeable in how deftly he controls rebounds with either hand. On offensive boards that usually means two points, and maybe a freethrow as well. On the defensive end, it means quick outlets to start the break and convert on stops. He is effecting the flow of games positively this season and it all starts with his steady base, where before he was all too often sprawled out in a heap.

And it looks like he is going to be able to maintain that strength through the season and beyond, and then hopefully add to it a bit again in the offseason. He has not been going to the line as much lately, but the whistles have not been blowing all that much in general in recent games either. Instead of the freethrows, we are seeing the assists go up. So those touches that once brought foul calls, are getting more touches and scoring chances for his teammates. And that goes hand in hand with what looks like an improved understanding of what it takes to win. It’s become quite evident that he needs to make the players around him better just as consistently as he can get his own numbers. That’s where his value lies, and if he continues to get the results here, then it has to look good for the results to continue on past 2010. He’s seen how difficult it can be to adjust to new surroundings. He need look no further than the guy across the locker room muttering BALL. The stability that his new strength has brought to his game can be turned into some stability right here, where a true team can be allowed to flourish. There are still guys here, including himself, with room to grow further, and so far the new winning environment is making that happen. If that continues to develop, and MLSE spends enough of the MLE, then whereas he might not attain the overall greatness of Duncan’s groundhog day resume, let’s at least call him “the day after” and head into the spring on good terms year after year.

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