He came, Raptors fans booed and Toronto lost. Again. Notorious fake tough guy Chris Bosh made his return to Air Canada Centre last night, scoring 25 points to help carry Miami to a surprisingly-close 103-95 win over the Raptors, who held tight but tossed away a handful of chances to make it even more interesting in the fourth quarter. Bosh got help from two unknown teammates, with some guy named Dwyane Wade scoring 28 and another named LeBron James adding 23 points, 13 rebounds and eight assists.
Aside from an early run in the game’s first five minutes, Toronto played from behind, pulling to within four points with about five minutes to go and hanging tough behind 38 points from Andrea Bargnani. Turnovers, missed shots and a few Miami offensive boards kept it from getting any closer, though, as the Heat came away with their third straight win against the Raptors this season in front of 20,156 fans, many of whom haven’t been to another game this season and won’t the rest of the way.
Bargnani’s offensive output was one of the finest of his career — he did it on 15-of-26 shooting, including 5-of-6 from deep — but his all-around effort was again plagued by just four rebounds in 39 minutes and his usual array of defensive inepeptitude. DeMar DeRozan’s maturation continued with 24 points, though his hot start fizzled when he missed nine of his last 13 shots, the fourth straight game in which his production faded after a strong first half. Jose Calderon’s shooting funk continued with a 2-of-9 night and Amir Johnson’s 11 rebounds, five blocks and two steals were slightly deadened by a 2-of-10 shooting performance of his own. Sonny Weems rounded out the starting five with just two points in 24 minutes, while further establishing himself as the worst defensive swingman the league has ever seen.
As far as Bosh goes, the boos were expected, and depending on who you ask, well-deserved. Regardless of personal opinion, it was going to happen. Personally, I’m over it — who came blame the guy, after all? Was he going anywhere as a franchise player? No, and credit to him for realizing that. Toronto may not look better off at 15-41, but is .500 with a maxed-out cap and uninspired team leader better? The way the past three seasons ended, I’m saying no. Then again, that’s not to imply these Raptors are anything to get too excited about anytime soon, at least as long as King Bargnani is running the show.
The loss sends Toronto to the All-Star Break with the NBA’s fourth-worst record, with Cleveland, fresh off a shocking home win against the Lakers, the only team trailing in the Eastern Conference.