By Tim Reynolds
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
MIAMI _ Chris Bosh was often referred to as the most important player for the Miami Heat over the last four seasons, something that probably not many people understood.
It needs no explaining now.
With LeBron James gone to Cleveland and Dwyane Wade _ while arguably still the key to how far Miami goes _ no longer the elite scorer he once was, the Heat are asking Bosh for more than ever. So far, he’s delivering, with 77 points in Miami’s first three games and flourishing again in the go-to-option role that he had for his seven seasons in Toronto.
“I feel like I am a much better player and a much better leader,” said Bosh, announced Monday as the NBA’s Eastern Conference player of the week. “I try to really lead by example and lead by my voice every day.”
His voice, that’s one thing.
His productivity, that’s another.
And he’s delivering on both fronts. He has scored at least 21 points in all three game, and the Heat were the only team in the Eastern Conference to go unbeaten in the opening week.
“He is playing at a very high level right now,” Toronto coach Dwane Casey said.
Wade isn’t surprised.
“His pie chart is off the chain with how he can score the ball, where he’s getting the ball, how we’re looking for him,” Wade said. “He’s going to be able to put up those numbers. He’s rebounding great. He looks good. Credit to him for getting himself ready.”