NBA notebook: Bosh enjoying role as Heat's go-to scoring option

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MIAMI (AP) -- 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," Bosh said. "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."

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Here's some of what to watch in the NBA this week:

LEBRON VS. VINCE

Cleveland's LeBron James moved into 25th on the NBA's career scoring list last week, overtaking Memphis' Vince Carter (who could pass him back Monday night, but it's almost certainly a matter of time before James pulls away). James has 23,223 points; Carter has 23,206. At his usual pace, James would be in the top 20 by season's end. On the combined NBA-ABA list, James is 30th and Carter 31st.

KOBE WATCH

It's 49 and counting for Kobe Bryant. He's 49 missed shots away from passing John Havlicek for the most unsuccessful field-goal attempts in NBA regular-season history. He missed 50 of his 85 shots in the Los Angeles Lakers' first four games this season - all losses. Also notable: Since the NBA started tracking plus-minus in 2002, the Lakers have been outscored by more than 25 points with Bryant on the floor only eight times. Two of those were last week. The Lakers are home against Phoenix on Tuesday night and Charlotte on Sunday night.

PLAYOFF REMATCHES

Wednesday night brings a pair of rematches from last season's epic opening playoff round. Miami visits Charlotte, which means Josh McRoberts goes back to the city he called home until this summer and Lance Stephenson squares off against the Heat again. Afterward, the Los Angeles Clippers play at Golden State; those clubs met 11 times last season with the Clippers going 6-5, winning by an average score of 110-107.

BIG APPLE SERIES

The Knicks visit the Nets on Friday night, and maybe fans in New York will finally get treated to a game that isn't decided in the third quarter. The Knicks went 3-1 against their city rivals last season, winning by 30, 29 and 11 points. Brooklyn's lone win also was an easy one, a 23-point rout.

PHILLY WOES

The 76ers started 3-0 last season. They're 0-3 this season and have Houston, Toronto and Chicago on this week's slate - along with Orlando, which is one of the three other teams still searching for their first win.

STAT LINE OF THE WEEK

DeMarcus Cousins, Sacramento: He had 34 points, 17 rebounds, five assists and three blocks in the Kings' 98-92 victory at the Clippers on Sunday. Such a stat line occurred only once last season, when Dwight Howard had 35 points, 19 rebounds, five assists and three blocks for Houston against Detroit.

26 PHOTOS
NBA All-Star Dunk
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NBA notebook: Bosh enjoying role as Heat's go-to scoring option
Carmelo Anthony #7 of the New York Knicks dunks against Brandan Wright #34 of the Dallas Mavericks on January 5, 2014 at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Danny Bollinger/NBAE via Getty Images)
Paul George #24 of the Indiana Pacers drives to the basket and dunks the ball against the Washington Wizards in Game Six of the Eastern Conference Semifinals during the 2014 NBA Playoffs at the Verizon Center on May 15, 2014 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images)
LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat dunks the ball against the Indiana Pacers in Game Three of the Eastern Conference Semifinals during the 2014 NBA Playoffs on May 24, 2014 at American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)
Kyrie Irving #2 of the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Eastern Conference goes up for a dunk during the 2013 NBA All-Star game at the Toyota Center on February 17, 2013 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Eric Gay/Pool/Getty Images)
Dwyane Wade #3 of the Miami Heat dunks against the Indiana Pacers in Game Four of the Eastern Conference Semifinals during the 2014 NBA Playoffs on May 26, 2014 at American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)
Chris Bosh #1 of the Miami Heat dunks against the Golden State Warriors on February 12, 2014 at Oracle Arena in Oakland, California. (Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images)
Raptors DeMar DeRozan slams a backward dunk during NBA matchup between Toronto Raptors and Houston Rockets, on Sunday, December 16, 2012, at Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario. (Photo by Rick Madonik/Toronto Star via Getty Images)
Roy Hibbert #55 of the Indiana Pacers dunks over Shane Battier #31 of the Miami Heat in Game Three of the Eastern Conference Semifinals during the 2012 NBA Playoffs on May 17, 2012 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)
Joe Johnson #7 of the Brooklyn Nets attempts a dunk during a game against the San Antonio Spurs at the AT&T Center on December 31, 2013 in San Antonio, Texas. (Photo by D. Clarke Evans/NBAE via Getty Images)
Paul Millsap #4 of the Atlanta Hawks dunks against Jared Dudley #9 of the Los Angeles Clippers at Philips Arena on December 4, 2013 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Joakim Noah #13 of the Chicago Bulls dunks against the Dallas Mavericks on February 28, 2014 at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Glenn James/NBAE via Getty Images)
John Wall #2 of the Washington Wizards goes up for a dunk against the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center on March 21, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)
Kevin Durant #35 of the Oklahoma City Thunder goes up for a dunk against the San Antonio Spurs in Game Three of the Western Conference Finals during the 2014 NBA Playoffs on May 25, 2014 at the Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)
Blake Griffin #32 of the Los Angeles Clippers dunks the ball against the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game Six of the Western Conference Semifinals during the 2014 NBA Playoffs at Staples Center on May 15, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)
Kevin Love #42 of the Minnesota Timberwolves dunks against the Portland Trail Blazers on December 18, 2013 at Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images)
Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers goes up for the dunk against David Lee #10 of the Golden State Warriors on March 25, 2013 at Oracle Arena in Oakland, California. (Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images)
Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors dunks against the Los Angeles Clippers in Game Seven of the Western Conference Quarterfinals during the 2014 NBA Playoffs at Staples Center on May 3, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images)
LaMarcus Aldridge #12 of the Portland Trailblazers dunks the ball against the Philadelphia 76ers at the Moda Center Arena in Portland, Oregon. (Photo by Sam Forencich/NBAE via Getty Images)
Anthony Davis #23 of the New Orleans Pelicans goes up for the dunk against the Los Angeles Clippers during an NBA game on March 26, 2014 at the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Layne Murdoch Jr./NBAE via Getty Images)
James Harden #13 of the Houston Rockets dunks the ball during the game against the Minnesota Timberwolves on April 11, 2014 at Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images)
Dwight Howard #12 of the Houston Rockets dunks over Wesley Matthews #2 and Robin Lopez #42 of the Portland Trail Blazers during the first half in Game Two of the Western Conference Quarterfinals during the 2014 NBA Playoffs at Toyota Center on April 23, 2014 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 1: Damian Lillard #0 of the Portland Trail Blazers dunks against Chris Kaman #9 and Pau Gasol #16 of the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center on April 1, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)
Dirk Nowitzki #41 of the Dallas Mavericks dunks against the Boston Celtics on March 17, 2014 at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Danny Bollinger/NBAE via Getty Images)
Tony Parker #9 of the San Antonio Spurs goes up for a dunk against the Orlando Magic at the TD Waterhouse Centre on February 3, 2002 in Orlando, Florida. (Photo by Fernando Medina/ NBAE/ Getty Images)
Chris Paul #3 of the Los Angeles Clippers dunks the ball during the game between the Los Angeles Clippers and the New Orleans Hornets at Staples Center on December 19, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images)
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