Jose Calderon matched a season high with 21 points, rookie DeMar DeRozan scored 19 and Chris Bosh had 18 for the Raptors, who bounced back from consecutive losses and got back to .500 at 20-20. Bargnani hurt the Knicks inside and out, making five 3-pointers and shooting 9 of 13 from the field.
Toronto shot 53 percent and opened a 28-point lead that was trimmed to eight early in the fourth quarter before Calderon made consecutive jumpers and Hedo Turkoglu knocked down another to push it back to 14.
And while both Bargnani and the Knicks' Danilo Gallinari got into the spirt of Italian Heritage Night, the same could not be said for Marco Belinelli, who missed the morning shootaround because he was feeling under the weather. Belinelli did make it to the game and warmed up before, but sat out the first half and then did not return to the bench with the rest of the team for the second.
Turns out it's a typical club shot, blurry and murky, showing part of Singh's friend, another friend's arm and, if you really, really knew who Turkoglu is, you just might recognize him as the partially obscured face in the background.
But apparently the chance of being recognized was enough to send Turkoglu into photo-destroying mode. That's when Singh and her friends asked Lobby's security for help that they were told the big guy was a basketball player with the Raptors and – in not so many words – that he could get away with it.
"He just ripped the phone out of my hand – I thought he was trying to steal it," said Singh, still incredulous a day later. "I had no idea who he was. I didn't care who he was. No one has the right to do that."
Said Chris Bosh, the Raptor big man, of the Euro-shooting clinic: "I wanted to let (a three-pointer) go. They made it look fun."
It was Raptors who were all smiles for most of the evening. Toronto, which shot 63 per cent in in a season-high-tying 39-point first quarter, dominated from the get-go. Their lead was double digits before the game was four minutes old. They were up by as many as 28 before intermission, at which point Bargnani had 17 points on 4-for-4 three-balling. And if, at that point, Raptor fans couldn't exactly turn off the TV with complete confidence in an impending victory – Toronto was playing its first game since blowing a 23-point lead in a loss in Indiana, after all – this was a different game than that cough-up at Conseco Fieldhouse.
The Raptors came into the game with rested bodies, but perhaps weary minds. Toronto last played on Monday, and the team enjoyed a day off on Tuesday before going through practice sessions the next two days.
However, they had to work Monday's game out of their minds. Toronto built up a 23-point lead against the Pacers in Indiana, only to blow the cushion and lose, the second-worst collapse in franchise history.
At the very least, though, the type of game served to help the Raptors against the Knicks. Indiana got back into that game with a barrage of three-pointers, and the Knicks play very much the same way: drive into the paint, kick the ball out, shoot with no remorse.
Andrea Bargnani's double-double, 24 points and 12 boards, leads Raptors past Knicks
"If I said something, you can read something into it," Bosh said before scoring 18 points last night in the Raptors' 112-104 victory over the Knicks. "People ask me all the time, every city I go to, in the streets, people have their video phones. That's all I can do without trying offend anybody is laugh."
The Raptors power forward would likely be a fallback for the Knicks if their main target LeBron James doesn't come to New York. Bosh, however, wasn't giving any hints.
"Everybody has to wait and see," Bosh said.
Bosh played for Mike D'Antoni on the U.S. Olympic Team, and that could be a magnet.
"He's a good coach," Bosh said. "He gets along well with his players. Any team you want to go to in the league, you want to play for a good coach."
In this system, Lee is a five and my question is along the lines of- can he be a center on a championship caliber team, defensively? Can the team find a defensive-minded 4 should they successfully deal Jared Jeffries, who’s as savvy defensively.
Bosh is one of the game’s best power forwards, who needs to play with a lanky, long and active big man at the 5 who can post up so he can go back and forth between the block, perimeter and mid range. He’s not a 3-point shooter, but can shoot from out there. Can he do it enough to play the 4 in this system though?
He also was an incredibly talented student. My hope is that he takes a shade less to play in New York with D’Antoni and another max free agent. Like Frank says in the piece, he’s lumped with Wade and Lebron, but he’s not at that level talent-wise, so should he be paid as such? I guess as commodities go the answer is yes.
Mark Cuban makes this splash and the Mavs are right there. They get more hype behind them. The national media wouldn't know what to do.
The key to Bosh is that you'll have to re-sign him for this to make much more sense than it already does. He's a free agent. He's a Dallas native. He'll be competing with great players and winning 55+ games every season. If he goes to Los Angeles, Bosh is staying in Los Angeles until his knees give out.
What do the Mavs give up? I'd think it starts with Josh Howard. He's their only "young" good player that Toronto would have any interest in. Otherwise, it might be slim pickings. I don't know if Toronto's into expiring contracts, but it doesn't hurt.
Nonetheless, Cuban needs to make this happen. Today.
A native of Milan who is friendly with Bargnani from their time on the Italian National team, Gallinari scored 26 points and was 5-for-10 from beyond the arc.
"It was a big game in Italy because they were doing the game live in Italy [on Sky Sports] so everybody in Italy was watching this game," said Bargnani, who drained 5 of 6 3-pointers. "For our country it's important because it's the first time that three Italian players [including Marco Belinelli, who got a DNP] played an NBA game. It's something unbelievable for our country.
"Gallo played great, too. I think it was a lot of fun for all the Italian fans."
“They shot the living daylights out of us,” D’Antoni said.
“We didn’t make them feel us at all.”
And if they intended to make an impression on Summer of LeBron free agent Chris Bosh in the first of four games against the Raptors, they could’ve produced a better one.
Bosh scored 18, but only took 10 shots and grabbed just four rebounds, ceding center stage to Bargnani, 2006’s top overall draft choice.
He shredded what passed for the Knicks’ defense, making 5-of-6 threes and 9-of-13 shots overall to score 24, while also grabbing 12 rebounds.
Backup point guard Jose Calderon also scored 21 and handed out six assists, prompting D’Antoni to say, “He and Bargnani absolutely destroyed us.”
Plus, athletic two-guard DeMar DeRozan, selected ninth overall in last year’s draft, one pick after the Knicks chose Jordan Hill (who didn’t play again Friday) also scored 19, 11 from the foul line as he rarely hesitated to drive into the teeth of the Knicks’ defense. Make that the gums of their defense.
- The Knick defense was pretty lame tonight, but credit the Raptors with shooting the goddamn lights out. Andrea Bargnani hit 5 of 6 threes, Jose Calderon hit all three of his, and Hedo Turkoglu sank a respectable 3-8. All together, the Raps were 12-22 (.545) from downtown. Considering that the Knicks did only a mediocre–not awful– job of closing out, that's pretty absurd. Toronto actually shot better from outside the arc than they did from inside, which is pretty ridiculous with so many attempts.
- Though the New York three-point defense wasn't its absolute worst, I got very fed up with Knick forwards doubling off of talented three-point shooters. I'd rather let Chris Bosh go to work one-on-one against David Lee than leave the likes of Bargnani and Turkoglu open for threes. Seems like an easy choice.
"I just play basketball and whatever happens, happens," he said. "I know it's a business and the business of basketball can take over sometimes. I can't worry about that."
Although a rumor this week indicated that the Lakers might consider trading center Andrew Bynum for him, the word in Toronto is that if Bosh is likely to play out the season, it then would approve a sign-and-trade deal if he decides he doesn't want to return to the Raptors.
As for the Knicks, he said the popularity of Mike D'Antoni (for whom he played when D'Antoni was an assistant on the 2008 U.S Olympic team) would play a role for him and other free agents.
Raptors coach Jay Triano, meanwhile, didn't express much concern about Bosh's future Friday.Relaying what he saw as the team arrived for the pregame shootaround, he said, "All I know is when we pulled in on the bus this morning, the billboard [outside the Garden] still said LeBron [James]. So I'm not worried."
Chris Bosh's uniform was hanging from the same locker room stall that was assigned to Amar'e Stoudemire, Dwyane Wade and Joe Johnson when those All-Stars visited Madison Square Garden earlier this season.
Perhaps it is just a coincidence that four free agents from the class of 2010 were given the same locker in the visiting dressing room. But it is no secret that if the Knicks can't land LeBron James this summer, they wouldn't mind seeing Wade, Stoudemire, Johnson or Bosh suiting up down the hall next season.
Bosh's future could be decided before July 1, as trade reports continue to swirl around the Raptors' All-Star forward, who entered Friday night's game averaging 24 points and 11.3 rebounds per game. The theory is that if the Raptors are convinced that they can't re-sign Bosh in July, they will attempt to trade him next month.
Lee, just back from his grandfather's funeral in St. Louis, had more answers last night for the guy who was guarding him, Andrea Bargnani, than for Bosh. After Bargnani had celebrated excessively his third trey of the first half, Lee mimicked the Toronto center after a dunk and earned a technical.
"The refs didn't think it was funny," said Lee after the Raptors closed out Laugh Night with the last one, 112-104.
Lee did the best he could guarding Bosh. But there is not much guarding of Bosh going on in the NBA this year.
On Italian Heritage Night, the 7-foot Bargnani was the man of the hour. He scored 14 of his 24 points in the first quarter as Toronto built a 39-20 lead and never looked back. Bargnani made nine of 13 shots, grabbed 12 .rebounds and converted a career-high five of six 3-pointers.
"If he can get his feet set," Chris Duhon said, "most of the time he's going to knock them down, just like Gallo."
"Bargnani had an unbelievable first half," Mike D'Antoni said after the Knicks (15-21) lost for the third time in four games. "Having said that, we started off cold. We were missing open shots, layups, everything. It took us awhile to get into it."
I say this a lot, but wow. For a guy whose shot 4-for-18 and has looked half dead for over half a season this is exactly what he needed to do to get the Raptors’ fans behind him.
Turkoglu claims he doesn’t approve of people who take his photo without asking first and that he would do it again (snatch a phone/camera from someone and delete the photo) if he had to. Nice guy.
Tonight the Raps are in the Big Apple taking on the New York Knicks. I hope everyone in the floor seats brings their Powershots and Rebels and shoots the shit out of the gangly Turk.
This was basically a must win for the Raptors. After Monday’s horrific defeat and the ensuing days off, there really wasn’t any other result Raptor Nation would accept. This was simply a must win. The fact that they did it by taking a huge first half lead and with the help of a rookie is something to be excited about. The lead was lost in the second half but the Raptors battled back to reclaim the victory. This was a game to show the league that the Raptors are not a team to be taken lightly come playoff time.
- “A solid road win for a team desperate to get back to that .500 mark. And how ’bout Andrea Bargnani … doing it AGAIN. It’s fun watching him come out of his shell more and more this season.”
THE FAN presents highlights (clip 1, courtesy Paul Jones) & the game recap (clip 2, courtesy Eric Smith) of Toronto's 112-104 win over the Knicks.
DeMar DeRozan speaks with the media following the Raptors' win over the Knicks.
Andrea Bargnani speaks with the media after his 24-point, 12-rebound performance against the Knicks.
Jose Calderon speaks with the media following his season-high 21 points against the Knicks.
Chris Bosh speaks with the media following the Raptors' win over the Knicks.
Jay Triano speaks with the media following the Raptors' win over the Knicks.