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."
The Wizards have returned from the All-Star break with two consecutive losses and a very difficult schedule ahead of them, beginning with the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday. But Washington doesn't have to search far to know that it could be much worse.
The Toronto Raptors, who are one seed behind the Wizards in the Eastern Conference at fourth, were handed a significant blow on Monday as All-Star point guard Kyle Lowry had surgery to remove loose bodies in his right wrist. The hope now is that he can return for the playoffs, meaning it's very possible he will miss the remainder of the Raptors' 23 regular season games.
Lowry, 30, is a key player for the 35-24 Raptors who are behind the 34-23 Wizards based on a slim margin in winning percentage. The Wizards are in third with a .593 winning percentage, while Toronto is just behind them at .593. The two teams square off twice in a back-to-back with a game in Toronto on Wednesday and a rematch in Washington on Friday.
Lowry is having his best year with career-highs of 22.8 points per game and a 46.3 field goal percentage. His loss is a major obstacle for the Raptors who will now turn to others. They have two backup point guards listed on their roster, Delon Wright and Fred VanVleet, but they have a combined one year of NBA experience.
The timing of Lowry's injury is also tough, given the NBA trade deadline just passed last Thursday. They added Serge Ibaka and P.J. Tucker through trades, but neither play the point guard position.
The Raptors losing Lowry doesn't guarantee anything for the Wizards or anyone else in the East, but it does weaken one of the biggest threats at the top as the season gets closer and closer to the home stretch where playoff seeding will become more important.
The following is a list of things the 2017 Washington Nationals appear to have: A talented outfield led by Bryce Harper and Adam Eaton. A rising superstar at shortstop in Trea Turner. A possibly major hole at closer.
The following is a list of things the 2017 Washington Nationals appear to not have: Razors. Shaving cream. A desire to groom their faces.
A fun tradition at each team's spring training is the annual photo day, because photo day forces professional athletes to pose in front of cameras like they're being featured in the poster of an upcoming blockbuster movie. And after poring through the snapshots from the Nationals' photo day, a single trend emerged.
This year's team is a hairy bunch.
Among that bunch are the usual suspects, such as Bryce Harper, Anthony Rendon and Jayson Werth:
But there are some surprises, most notably of which is Stephen Strasburg. The right-hander tends to keep his mug 100-percent clean-shaven, but for now, at least, he's allowed his face to become quite fertile:
Then there's newcomer Adam Lind, who has a goatee that Duke's Blue Devil logo would be forced to respect:
Shawn Kelley, meanwhile, who's pictured below, has a beard that looks like...
...Derek Norris' beard, before Derek Norris' beard hit puberty and grew up to be the strong, mature beard it is today:
There are scraggly ones, such as Daniel Murphy's:
And fuller, more complete ones, like Eaton's (full marks, by the way, for the trade acquisition's ability to seamlessly connect 'stache to beard):
The most wild photo of all, however, was this one of Turner. Is this the Nats stud, or a picture of Leonard DiCaprio from a scene in The Revenant? Hard to tell with all that stubble the infielder's cultivating:
One potential positive of this team-wide movement: If Turner and his teammates keep what they're growing down in Florida going throughout the season, their faces will be plenty warm by the time playoff baseball comes around.