|Video probably won't help make Bosh an All-Star, but strong play should|
|Written by Admin|
|Friday, 18 January 2008 19:05|
Bosh should still end up in New Orleans next month, though. The way he's been playing lately, gimmicks won't be needed to get the attention of coaches when they pick the reserves.
The Toronto forward was chosen Eastern Conference player of the week after averaging 33 points in three victories last week, then followed that up by scoring 31 points on 11-of-12 shooting in a win over Sacramento on Wednesday.
``He just goes out and plays hard every night and he tries to get better,'' Raptors coach Sam Mitchell said. ``He is coachable, he listens to the things you tell him and the way he has played the last week and a half, he really cannot play any better.''
Bosh was even surprised himself last year when he beat out perennial starter Jermaine O'Neal to earn his first All-Star starting nod. He decided to boost his campaign to return by making a video in which he appears as something of a used car salesman stumping for votes.
``I'm getting a lot of good feedback, a lot of great feedback. It's been pretty good,'' Bosh said. ``I think people really enjoy it. I caught some people by surprise, and I just hope more people continue to watch it and it kind of shows my personality.''
Wearing a cowboy hat, standing in front of a pickup truck and holding a ballot in his hand, Bosh offers fans the post-holiday special of the chance to vote for him, reminding them that it's free. The video quickly became a hit and was up to more than 390,000 views on YouTube as of late this week.
``I just I remember I'm from Dallas, Texas, so you get a lot of cheesy used car salesmen commercials and lawyer commercials,'' Bosh said. ``And you know they're shouting and all this classic text and everything, they're just really country, and that made me think a lot. And after I started I said, 'OK, I'm going to do something like (that).' So I just wanted to go overboard with it.''
Unfortunately for Bosh, he's at the toughest position to get voted in at this season. Kevin Garnett and LeBron James were the leaders at Eastern Conference forward when the final update was released, with the highest two vote totals among all players. Bosh was running third, but more than 1 million votes behind James.
Voting ends Sunday and the starters will be announced Thursday.
SCORE SOME MORE: When Gilbert Arenas went down, the Washington Wizards didn't need to look for another scorer. They just needed Antawn Jamison to remind people that he still could be one.
No problem for Jamison, who was averaging 21.2 points going into the weekend, his highest total since coming to Washington in 2004.
``I'm having fun this year. I'd say this is the most fun I've had in a long time,'' Jamison said. ``Just out there enjoying myself, being a leader. Got some young guys who need some guidance, but also this coaching staff trusts me to go out there and do what I normally do.''
That doesn't always include scoring. With Arenas and Caron Butler, the Wizards can get that elsewhere. But with Arenas out until at least the All-Star break following knee surgery, Washington needed more offense from Jamison.
It shouldn't be any surprise that he's provided it. He once had consecutive 50-point games while playing for Golden State, and last season averaged 32 points in the playoffs when Arenas and Butler were both sidelined by injuries.
``I'm one of those guys, whatever it takes to win I'm willing to do it,'' Jamison said. ``That was the role the last couple of years, and like I said with Gilbert going off during the playoffs and also Caron, it was time for me to get back into that old-school scoring mode that I once was in in those Golden State days, and I can do that.
``And the same as far as this year. I know I need to be more aggressive with the ball offensively and really put up some quality shots.''
He's done that while also averaging a career-best 10.8 rebounds, making him the only 20-10 player in the Eastern Conference besides Orlando center Dwight Howard. With Butler scoring 21.7 points per game in his best season, the Wizards brought a winning record into the weekend - and perhaps will send both forwards to the All-Star game.
``We couldn't have done it as coaches without a professional like Antawn and Caron in the locker room,'' Wizards coach Eddie Jordan said. ``We said Gil's not here, we've got to give our forwards scoring opportunities a little bit more, so that's where our focus has been. We've been trying to get them and it's been working.''
TRADE TALK: Stephon Marbury says he doesn't want to be traded. Not only that, but he says dealing him would be bad business sense.
With Marbury enduring the worst season of his career and falling out of favor with coach Isiah Thomas, there has been some thought that maybe he'd be better off getting out of New York, where his hometown fans have turned on him.
Thomas, also the team president, said this week he's trying to trim the NBA's highest payroll. Trading Marbury would certainly help, since he's scheduled to earn about $21 million next season in the final year of his contract.
That's exactly why Marbury says he should stay.
``If I was a GM, my contract ends next year,'' he said. ``So if I was trying to reduce salary, I would go off the cap next year. That's just logic.''
In his 12th year, Marbury has declined as a player, and at nearly 31 is no longer durable. He decided to have surgery on his left ankle for bone spurs - it's expected to be next week - and it's not known when he will return.
It's hard to tell if he even wants to play. His fractured relationship with Thomas, followed by the death of his father, have created a difficult season emotionally. In and out of the lineup, Marbury is averaging only 13.9 points, six below his career average entering the season.
Despite all that, some team would possibly be interested in trading for him eventually, just to have the cap space when his contract expired. And while Marbury says he wants to stay in New York, he understands why he could go. But he disagrees that a trade would help him run from his problems.
``No, the grass isn't always green in other places,'' Marbury said. ``I've learned that in my career and I'm willing to stick through the tough times to get through it, because I believe that when you do get to the point where you can say that you've won, it's a lot sweeter.''
HOLIDAY HOOPS: Martin Luther King Jr. Day brings a full day of basketball viewing, home and abroad.
NBA TV is showing Boston's game at New York in the afternoon, and TNT has three games at night: Chicago-Memphis, Cleveland-Miami and Denver-Lakers.
The game in Memphis begins with the presentation of the National Civil Rights Sports Legacy Awards, with former NBA stars Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Bob Lanier being honored.
Fans in parts of Europe can see as much as 15 hours of NBA programming. MVP Dirk Nowitzki's game between Dallas and Washington will be shown live in his native Germany, one of four games being shown live there.
Four games also will be shown live in Italy and Turkey.