A health update on Heat star Chris Bosh

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A health update on Heat star Chris Bosh

From Comcast SportsNetMIAMI (AP) -- Heat forward Chris Bosh insists food tasted better this summer. People were friendlier to him and his family. Everything, he said, seemed more fun.It could have all gone a decidedly different way.The abdominal injury that nearly ended his season -- and probably would have doomed Miami's title chances -- is behind him now, Bosh said. But when things looked most bleak, when the Heat lost two straight games to the Indiana Pacers in the Eastern Conference semifinals after he got hurt, Bosh was preparing himself for a long offseason without a championship to savor."I thought it was over," Bosh said in an interview with The Associated Press. "I didn't want to fully emotionally invest myself anymore because I didn't want to get hurt like last year when we lost the finals. I kind of had a letdown. I'm not going to lie. I was defeated. And then my wife came to me and said, You know, you said things were going to look bad, but you have to keep going.'"So he did. After missing about three weeks -- the typical recovery time for an injury like his is often twice that long -- Bosh returned for the East finals against Boston. He made a huge 3-pointer in Game 7 as part of a 19-point effort to help beat the Celtics, then averaged 14.6 points against Oklahoma City as the Heat beat the Thunder in five games for the NBA championship.On Saturday the Heat open training camp in Miami. And Bosh is eager to get the group back together."I feel good. I feel real good," Bosh said. "I've been pretty eager to get back with training camp looming and everything. I'm real excited to get back, start working. I've been in the gym a few times in the past couple weeks and that itch for basketball is there. I'm glad it's there and I'm looking forward to this season."He's beginning his 10th NBA season, as are fellow Heat stars LeBron James and Dwyane Wade. Their ballyhooed decision to team up in Miami in the summer of 2010 led to countless adjustments to everyone, especially Bosh, who went from being the top option in Toronto to the perceived third-wheel with the Heat.In Miami, they insist that isn't even close to the truth. Wade and James routinely referred to Bosh last season as Miami's "most important player," and the reasons why they say that were on display when the Heat struggled in the playoffs while Bosh dealt with the abdominal injury."I know his talent," Wade said. "I know what he brings to the game."By now, probably just about everyone does.Game 7 against Boston was a classic for the Heat, a game where for 13 minutes -- a 46-possession span -- of the second half, neither team led by more than two points. Bosh changed that for good when he made his career-best third 3-pointer of the night and sparked the burst that pushed Miami to what became a 101-88 win.Hard to believe that a couple weeks earlier, he could barely walk."I remember thinking just before that shot, if it hits my hands, I'm shooting it," Bosh said. "I don't really think that one particular shot was a significant moment. There were a lot of significant moments. ... The whole time that game was going on, I just knew we were going to win. I didn't have any doubt in my mind. And every time I touched the ball and I shot the ball in that game, I knew it was going in. That's just how I felt."The biggest key for him now is not feeling the same sort of pain he felt when he got hurt while dunking in Game 1 of the second-round series with Indiana.It's been his biggest priority this summer, and will stay that way."It's behind me. But I still have to pay attention to stretching and strengthening all the muscles in the core around it and everything," Bosh said. "It's something that I just can't forget about. I'm not sure if I can re-aggravate it but I'm sure, just like anything, it has the potential to be chronic. If we stay on top of it and continue to do the proper treatment, proper stretching and proper strengthening, I don't see it being an issue."Bosh spent nearly a decade chasing his first NBA title, as did James. Several other players on last season's Heat roster waited even longer to be fitted for their first championship ring.The motivation going forward, Bosh said, is easy. He wants the Heat to, as he put it, "get greedy.""Winning a championship is only the beginning for this group, and we have to look at it that way," Bosh said. "We have to look at it as we're trying to have a dynasty. I think that's the next thing. The only way you can do that is to have more than one championship. I look at it as a five- to six-year increment, where we're trying to win as many as possible."

5 reasons the Celtics will get the No. 1 seed

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5 reasons the Celtics will get the No. 1 seed

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Haggerty: Signs of panic starting to show as losses mount for B's

Haggerty: Signs of panic starting to show as losses mount for B's

BOSTON -- For the third straight season, the Bruins are showing all the ugly, telltale signs of a hockey club poised to take a nosedive out of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

The short-attention span Bruins returned in a 6-3 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday night at TD Garden, and proceeded to blow three one-goal leads in the second period before totally collapsing in the final 20 minutes of the game. Three unanswered third goals later, the Bruins were understandably downtrodden and accountable for a performance that kicked up so many bad memories from the last couple of seasons.

“We all have to look at ourselves in the mirror and we can’t point fingers. Everyone has to step up and if every guy is going to do their job, including myself, then the rest will follow, you know?” said David Krejci. “But we hadn’t done that [against Tampa Bay] at all. The last two games against Toronto and Ottawa, I thought we worked hard. But for whatever reason [against Tampa] – maybe we thought it was going to come easy – we just shot ourselves in the foot.

“Like I said, each player has to be better, including myself, and if we don’t look at ourselves in the mirror that’s what’s going to happen. We’ll be losing and we need to win games. We have a team, we all believe, we know we can play well. We know we can win hockey games. We have a great game plan, but [against Tampa] I guess we just thought it was going to come easy.”

Even worse there were clear signs of panic in Boston’s game as things unfolded in an unsightly manner on the Garden ice.

Clearly it wasn’t about talent on Thursday night, and instead it was about focus, concentration and paying attention to the fine details that can come back to haunt you late in the season. The Bruins scored three goals in the second period with David Pastrnak, Zdeno Chara and Riley Nash each lighting the lamp, but it took 44 seconds, 24 seconds and 1 minute, 35 seconds respectively in the second period for the Bolts to things up.

That’s the kind of instant buckling and crumbling under pressure we’ve seen in the past from the Bruins late in seasons, and we’re seeing it again despite a different coach and some new, hard-nosed players like David Backes. That lack of composure combined with a pinch of panic is a potentially disastrous mix for the Black and Gold, just as it has been for the last three years.

“Those follow up shifts need to be our best shifts of the game. They’re when you can either bury a team, or when you get scored on to have a great response, and to show that you’re not going away [if you’re the team trailing]. I don’t think they were our best shifts. They were probably some of our least [effective] in the form of execution, least form of desperation and fortitude to just impose what we’re going to do on the other team.

[Tampa] certainly made good on their chances, there’s no question about that. But I think we led into them way too much and the result is the result that we don’t get points again. We’re four [losses] in a row here, but this needs to stop Saturday [against the Islanders] or the bleeding starts to get profuse after that. The guys are in this room. We know it. We’ve seen it. We need to look in the mirror.”

It goes beyond a thoroughly gross second period, however.

The Bruins last line of defense, No. 1 goaltender Tuukka Rask, crumbled in the second and third period as things were falling apart around him. Anton Stralman beat him high to the short-side, glove side for the game-tying goal on a transition play, and Jonathan Drouin snapped one past him from the face-off circle that dipped under his glove hand for the game-winner.

It was a soft, inexcusable goal allowed in a hugely important game, and was part of five goals allowed on 28 shots for the former Vezina Trophy winner. After the game Rask seemed frazzled, his voice getting soft and trailing off when it was his turn to accept responsibility for a giant stink bomb tossed down on the Garden ice.

“You have to [pick up the team]. A lot of the time that’s the case, the goalie has to make a couple extra stops there and today I didn’t,” said Tuukka Rask. “That’s part of my job to accept the fact that sometimes it’s your fault. There were a couple of times I should’ve made the save, but it happens sometimes…”

The high pressure situation with things spiraling out of control even seemed to be getting to their best, most established players with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand forcing things down a goal in the third period. Bergeron and Marchand were put back together with David Pastrnak in the second and third periods with Bruce Cassidy looking for answers, and they attempted to execute a D-zone face-off play that’s worked a few times for them in the last few years.

It involves Bergeron winning the draw, and then either Marchand or Pastrnak immediately releasing for a home run pass that can turn into a breakaway opportunity if the opponent is caught napping. Tampa Bay wasn’t caught unaware when the B’s tried it in the middle of the third period, but then Bergeron and Co. kept trying to make it happen.

They ended up icing the puck multiple times trying to make the goal happen in one quick play rather than working for the tying goal, and it killed any momentum they could have possibly started building up for a third period comeback. It also showed a fundamental lack of confidence that they could scratch and claw their way back in on Thursday night, and that’s a definite cause for concern at this time of year.

“At the end of the day, it is a focus, and it’s urgency, and it’s understanding time and score. We did not have a good comprehension of that tonight, I don’t think, and of late,” said Cassidy. “We’ve let games get away, and you can look back, even this year, we’ve had some goals scored against us late throughout the course of the year. It’s been built in this year, and we’re still fighting through it, to be perfectly honest.

“It’s a mindset that we’ve just got to get harder and understand the stakes, and what’s required after you score a goal. I think winning teams get through that, and we’re fighting through it this year. Some nights, we’ve been good at it. We’ve had resiliency, I think. It’s just, lately, it’s creeping in, and we’ve got to nip it in the bud now.”

It hasn’t been just the young players at the heart of this four-game losing streak, and the Tampa loss should have been a wakeup call that the Bruins veterans need to find a way to step up their focus, their effort level and their composure at this time of year. After their fourth loss in a row, the Bruins have frittered away whatever margin for error they once had with just eight games remaining in the regular season.

Their next wrong move will cause a nosedive straight out of the playoffs for the third year in a row, and that will spell changes far and wide on Causeway Street for the Boston Bruins.