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Old 08-15-2008, 08:47 AM   #1 (permalink)

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Default Doug Smith: Bosh a Leader

Looks like Doug is noticing some interesting things.

Raptor draws rave reviews from coach, teammates with strong showing on defence

Doug Smith


BEIJING–These are the Olympics of discovery for Chris Bosh.

He has seen the Great Wall and been impressed by its scope and its history; he has met swimmers and track stars and shared stories with the other great athletes at the Olympics.

He's learned a thing or two about himself and basketball, too.

"That I can play defence," he said after the United States trounced Greece 92-69 last night. "I know I'm digging a hole for myself with the Raptors and everything because the expectations are going to be there.

"I can play defence and I can play a different role. I think that's hard for guys to accept sometimes, but I just want to win."

This is Bosh's second significant competition with the American team, but the first in which he's playing a significant role.

Two years ago at the world championships in Japan he played just a bit part, relegated to the end of the bench for most games as the Americans won the bronze medal. He admits now he wasn't ready for anything more.

"In '06 I was still trying to find out what that role was, I was still trying to find myself and everything," he said. "It was frustrating because I wasn't playing well and if I wasn't doing what I was supposed to be doing, I couldn't play.

"I think this time, I kind of figured it out, I kind of just let the game come to me and, to be honest, it's a lot easier. As long as I exert all my energy on defence, run the floor and set screens, I'll play."

And, so far, play well. Bosh is averaging just under 10 points a game through the first three American outings, easy wins over China, Angola and Greece, the latter helping to erase some of the residual hurt of a loss to Greece at the '06 worlds.

Assistant coach Mike D'Antoni pulled out the adjective "magnifico" to describe Bosh's 18-point game against Greece yesterday, as well as his play overall. Teammate Kobe Bryant gushed over his play.

"Chris Bosh was terrific," said Bryant. "He always seems to find himself in the right place at the right time and when we penetrate he's able to find a little crack or seam and be able to finish.

"And defensively he did a great job on the pick-and-roll and stopping their guards from penetrating. He was getting steals and we converted them into easy points. He did a fantastic job."

Bosh has far eclipsed Carlos Boozer as the backup centre on a smallish American team and with Dwight Howard's propensity to draw fouls, it could mean more time for the 6-foot-11 Bosh.

He's responded each time, playing with an intensity and passion that was missing his first time around with the American team.

"We're going to have to play passionate basketball and when we do that, that gets everybody into it and we can keep the intensity level up for the whole 40 minutes," said Bosh.

Toronto Star
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