It was nearly an hour after a tough loss to Orlando and Chris Bosh was still at a loss for why his team failed to secure a win this afternoon.
You can’t blame Bosh for his confusion because looking at the team stats for the Raptors it would be hard to pick out why the team failed to pick up the win after they held one of the better offenses in the NBA to 41% from the field.
Vince Carter was held in check and shot a miserable 37.5% (9-24) from the field while Dwight Howard was held to 30% (4-13).
Not a bad day of the office for Toronto since they had been struggling earlier this season on the defensive end.
Throw in the fact Toronto shot an impressive 44.2% (34-77) from the field while only turning the ball over nine times and those are the kind of numbers that usually get you a win.
“Just looking at the score sheet I don’t know what to say,” a puzzled Bosh admitted to the media after the game. “I really don’t know what to say. We gave up a lot of second chance opportunities but they didn’t have a lot of second chance points which is a mystery to me. I think if we had tightened up the rebounding and knocked down a couple more shots it would have been a different game.”
Despite his confusion Bosh still managed to identify the problem tonight: lack of rebounds.
The funny thing about this is he was part of the problem for the first time this season.
As strong as Toronto’s defense was the stat which stuck is the one rebound Bosh snagged over the final three quarters of the game. This coming from a player who entering he game was second in the NBA in rebounds with 12.2.
After the game when I asked him about went wrong on the glass Bosh joked, “If I could answer that I’d have more (rebounds).”
Even after a quick reflection on the question he still couldn’t find an answer to why Orlando was able to shut him down.
“It just happens some games,” Bosh told me. “We missed a lot of long shots and as a big man sometimes they get away from you. Andrea (Bargnani) picked up the boards today so that was decent. You can’t rebound every night and you’re going to have an off night some nights.”
The suggestion was later throw out by another member of the media that Bosh’s legs gave out after battling in the paint all night against Dwight Howard.
Bosh seemed to warm to the idea but didn’t want to make excuses for his poor performance on the glass.
“(Dwight) Howard is hands down the strongest guy in the league,” Bosh admitted to Michael Grange. “Playing against him you’re really going to have to exert a lot of energy. But it just takes practice. I still felt I had a lot of open jump shots. I missed a couple and I felt I was off-balance a little bit taking it to the basket. It’s going to happen sometimes so I just need to get in better position so next time it will be different.”
While part of this may have been fatigue the real reason likely came from Dwight Howard after the game.
It turns out Orlando’s game plan for dealing with Bosh was to have different Orlando defenders hit him early and often. And just like a heavyweight boxer this started to take it’s toll after the early rounds, er, first quarter.
“I think the last time we played him we just gave him a free path to the lane and tonight we did a better job of keeping a body on him,” Howard explained to me after the game. “We forced him to stay out of the lane and just not be able to get those easy rebounds. The guy who rebounded well tonight for them was Amir Johnson so the next time we play them we need to hit him and hit Chris (Bosh) to get those guys off the glass.”
After ripping through the first 13 games of the season posting superhuman-esque averages of 27 points, 12.2 rebounds and 1.2 blocks, it appears that teams are starting to find ways to slow down the much-improved big men.
So despite adding nearly 30 pounds of muscle and bumping his numbers up across the board it appears that Bosh is still human and has games where he doesn’t respond well when he gets bullied around under the basket.
Now the key for Bosh will be to use his recently added bulk to ensure his Kryptonite this afternoon doesn’t cause other teams to be able to bully him again in the paint.