Miami Heat

December 22, 2013

Miami Heat’s versatile Chris Bosh again playing like an All-Star

Heat owner Micky Arison might not have to persuade All-Star voters to choose Chris Bosh considering the way Bosh is playing.

When it’s time for Chris Bosh’s agent to explore the options of his client’s contract this offseason, it’s not going to hurt Bosh’s cause that the owner of the Heat has been so publicly supportive.

Micky Arison, the principal benefactor of what is likely the greatest run in South Florida professional sports history, is a big fan of two things these days: Chris Bosh and Twitter.

In between promoting his cruise boats on social media, Arison has again started beating the drum to get Bosh elected as a starter for the All-Star Game. At least once a day recently, Arison has implored his 140,000-plus Twitter followers to vote for Bosh.

“Retweets don't count,” Arison reminded everyone Saturday. “Please tweet ‘Chris Bosh #NBABallot’ and vote for @chrisbosh.”

Bosh is a long shot in fan voting, of course, but he’s all but a shoo-in as a reserve. NBA coaches seem to appreciate Bosh’s rare skill set far more than NBA fans, and Friday night’s victory against the Kings demonstrated why basketball intelligentsia holds Bosh in such high esteem. Bosh had 25 points in 26 minutes in the blowout, and showcased almost every facet of his game.

He scored on driving dunks. He swished midrange jumpers. He was perfect (3 of 3) from the free-throw line.

“I was just trying to be aggressive,” Bosh said. “That’s all I’ve been really been working on, just picking and choosing my spots and being forceful when I can. It’s going well so far. I’m just trying to stay consistent and keep it going.”

The Heat has won four in a row since losing at Indiana, and Bosh has been a big reason for the streak. He has scored more than 20 points in three of the past four games.

His impressive game against the Kings came just two nights after he made arguably the biggest basket of the early season for the Heat in its victory against the Pacers. Bosh’s three-pointer, yet another element of his offensive repertoire, tied the score in the final minutes and set the stage for Ray Allen’s go-ahead basket.

Heat coach Erik Spoelstra, who has long called his center the Heat’s “most important player,” heaped more praise on Bosh after the victory against the Kings. The Heat coach called Bosh the team’s greatest facilitator — and Bosh plays on the same team as LeBron James.

“When we have good ball movement, [Bosh] can be aggressive, he gets good shots, the rest of us get good shots and we run good offense,” Shane Battier said.

There isn’t another player in the NBA who can quite match Bosh’s unique gifts, so why doesn’t he feel more love from fans? Bosh was fifth in All-Star voting among Eastern Conference frontcourt players after the first returns were announced Dec. 12. Pacers center Roy Hibbert, fourth in voting for frontcourt players, led Bosh by more than 52,000 votes.

“Honestly, the fact that [Bosh] is an intellectual player, I think works against him,” Battier said. “He may not be as cool as some of the other guys in the eyes of the voters out there, and I think a lot of it has to do with, he’s intellectual and introspective and into other things.”

Bosh offered his own perspective.

“It’s an All-Star Game,” Bosh said. “Nobody pays to see me. They pay to see LeBron and all the high fliers. I’m just there to have fun with it and get some shots up and that’s it.”

After the first All-Star vote returns, James, Paul George and Carmelo Anthony led the East’s frontcourt players. If that holds up, then the All-Star Game in New Orleans could feature LeBron James starting at center.

But not if Arison can help it.

Last season, Arison stumped for Bosh online, but it was Arison’s influence over the All-Star team’s coach that ultimately landed Bosh the starting role at center. Spoelstra, of course, coached the East All-Stars in Houston, and inserted Bosh into the starting lineup after Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo injured his knee.

For his part, Bosh isn’t too concerned about whether he receives the proper amount of appreciation from fans, and neither are his teammates.

“Let’s be serious about All-Star voting, all right?” Battier said. “It’s an extension of NBA marketing.”

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