After an early-summer sojourn through Europe and the Andes Mountains in South America, a happy, healthy Chris Bosh surfaced in Las Vegas on Tuesday, offering support for the Heat’s Summer League team and voicing considerable optimism about the Heat’s future and his return from February’s serious health scare.
“As far as collective punch, I think we’re as good as anybody in the league,” Bosh said at halftime of Miami’s 101-69 loss to Boston at Cox Pavilion.
Bosh, sidelined after the All-Star break because of blood clots on his lungs, has been working out for a month, but won’t be able to partake in contact drills until he’s off blood thinner medication in a few weeks.
He said he feels normal “with the exception of the soreness. It’s a little bit tougher getting back on that horse if you haven’t played in a while. I’m kind of working through that. It’s good to get it out now as opposed to later.”
“The shot feels good. As far as my feel on the court is concerned, it’s good. I’m just happy to be playing basketball.”
He said his lung capacity is at 90 percent, and the remaining 10 percent will come.
“Still working through that lung expansion,” he said. “You kind of feel it a little bit. But it’s good for me. You have to stretch it out.
“I will come back in better shape because before you really don’t think about things like that, the ability to get more oxygen to expand your lungs. It’s a major point of emphasis for me.”
LIT A FIRE
Being away from basketball has renewed his passion for the game.
“You don’t miss anything until it’s gone,” he said. “It’s good for me to miss the game right now. As soon as it happened, I knew I was in a position to relight my fire a little bit and be more passionate.”
LeBron James and others have praised the Heat’s personnel moves, and Bosh said: “I love it. It’s better than them saying, ‘Oh, they’ll be a seven seed.’ If I was to pick my poison, I would pick being a top contender….
“We just need a chance to be in the conversation. Now it’s on us to exceed those expectations.”
Bosh said he believes the Heat has “a chance to be very good. It’s all going to be determined by our chemistry, being able to share the ball and play fast basketball because there are going to be a lot of guys who are going to want shots.
“Those are things we are going to have work out throughout the flow of the team. It will take some time.”
Bosh said he was “very surprised” Amar’e Stoudemire and Gerald Green took minimum deals to join the Heat.
“It makes me more excited,” he said. “When you feel like you’re on the verge of being an elite team, guys give up certain things to come. That lets me know they want to win now.”
Of Stoudemire, Bosh said: “I can’t believe he came. We’ve had dinners before. Our wives are good friends. He’s a really good guy. He’s going to bring that veteran leadership and work ethic to the team.”
He said he’s eager to play with Goran Dragic, who was acquired on the day Bosh was diagnosed with blood clots.
“I love when Goran attacks,” Bosh said. “That’s always good for me.”
He said the team is “equipped” to p lay faster —which Erik Spoelstra has stated as an objective.
He said Spoelstra is “going to ask us… to trim down our minutes in the starting group, to have that constant flow of energy throughout the game. Our depth is going to be a tool we can really use.”
Incidentally, Bosh said he was “never worried” about Dwyane Wade leaving: “I knew they were going to work it out.”
With James Ennis and Shabazz Napier given the night off to rest, the Heat was drubbed by the Celtics 101-69, dropping Miami to 1-2 in Las Vegas after going 5-0 in Orlando.
Rookie forward Justise Winslow left in the fourth quarter with a mild left ankle sprain, closing with five points (1 for 5 shooting), three rebounds and three turnovers in 11 minutes. He said he could have played through the injury if needed and expects to play again in Summer League.
Second-round pick Josh Richardson started at point guard and had 11 points (5 for 14 from the field), with four assists and a turnover.
The Heat’s next game is 6 p.m. EDT Wednesday against Atlanta.