Miami Heat

Chris Bosh, Miami Heat thankful for a lot after a trying year

After being hospitalized with blood clots in his lung last February, Chris Bosh is just ‘thankful to be alive, man.’
After being hospitalized with blood clots in his lung last February, Chris Bosh is just ‘thankful to be alive, man.’ pportal@elnuevoherald.com

Chris Bosh won’t be sitting down to Thanksgiving dinner with his family Thursday in New York. He already celebrated it with them last weekend at his home in Miami.

So as the Heat prepares to face the Knicks on Friday night and the rest of the country chows down on turkey, Bosh said he’ll likely order takeout on his phone.

“When you play professional sports you don’t spend a lot of holidays with your family at home,” teammate Dwyane Wade said Tuesday after practice. “It’s part of the deal. But you’ll find somewhere to have a moment to sit and be thankful — and watch some football no doubt.”

The Heat (9-4), which was tied for the second-best record in the Eastern Conference entering Wednesday night’s matchup in Detroit, feels like it has a lot to be thankful for this Thanksgiving. Few more than Bosh, who has a different view on life after being hospitalized with blood clots in his lung last February.

“Thankful to be alive, man,” Bosh said Tuesday. “Shoot, everybody doesn’t get to see it. I’ve seen guys that have passed from that same situation. So, what it means, I have no idea. I just know I’m lucky, and I’m glad to be here.”

Bosh is back and even better than before, ranking 19th in the league in efficiency (21.2). He is also running up and down the court without feeling out of shape anymore. He said that started to happen for him after the first week of the season.

“Training camp I felt good, but I still felt soreness in areas,” he said. “I think now it’s subsiding. That’s the next thing. You feel good, but then your body reacts crazy. I could barely walk and stuff like that. It’s better now.”

Point guard Goran Dragic, who signed a five-year, $85 million deal in the offseason, is thankful because he was recently reunited with his wife and two kids, who had remained in Slovenia after the birth of his second child last summer following a difficult pregnancy.

Dragic is also happy the Heat has been able to get off to a good start even as he has struggled with his shooting and worked to find his way in an offense much different than the one he played with in Phoenix.

“The rim is cursed,” Dragic said through a smile after practice Tuesday to describe why his shooting percentage near the rim is down from a league-leading 68.2 percent to 58.8 percent. “But I’m positive. I feel more comfortable now. I know what is my spot on this team, what I need to play. It’s coming.”

In Slovenia, there is no Thanksgiving. But Dragic said he and his family have been happy to adopt the tradition here.

“In our culture each family, their parents have one unique day where the whole family gathers, and it’s like a big table with a lot of food,” Dragic said. “It’s a lot of meat — beef, lamb, pork, and all these potatoes.

“If you ask me, we have Thanksgiving here every day. The most important thing that I enjoy in my life is feeding the people who I love, and we can share things. Hopefully, it’s going to stay like that for many, many years.”

Wade, who recently entered the 19,000-point club, said he’s thankful for his health, that of his family and to “be able to play this game that I love at this highest level.” At 33, Wade entered Wednesday ranked 70th in efficiency — he was 43rd last season. But the Heat is winning, and many times Wade is still leading that charge.

“We made a goal to be at the top in the East,” Bosh said. “I think we’re off to a decent start. Now it’s about that road. You see other teams kind of dip a little bit when they start taking those road trips. We have to make sure we stay stable. Once you get off to a certain start, once it takes shape 20 games or so, you kind of stay there. And you want to be right in the mix.”

Rookie Justise Winslow, who was a season-high plus-28 against the Knicks on Monday, leads the Heat in plus-minus at plus-98, 41 points higher than Wade.

The Heat appears to be the perfect fit for the 19-year-old, defensive-minded former Duke star. But getting drafted by Miami isn’t what he’s most thankful for. He’s got a bigger view on life than that.

“I’m happy to be here, but I just feel there are more important things to be thankful for — like family, friends, the safety of our country, our world,” Winslow said. “Basketball is just kind of a small thing when you look at the bigger picture of the world. I’m thankful for doctors, teachers, all those things.”

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