Bargnani Helps Lift Raptors Over Nets Late
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December 17, 2010
TORONTO, ON (CP) -- Andrea Bargnani and Jose Calderon's return to the Toronto lineup paid immediate dividends.
Bargnani scored 32 points and grabbed nine rebounds and Calderon added 15 points, 14 assists as the Raptors defeated the New Jersey Nets 98-92 on Friday at Air Canada Centre.
Calderon had missed the previous four games with a sore left foot. Bargnani had missed a game for the first time this season in Wednesday's loss to the Chicago Bulls with a sore left knee.
``I think (the injuries) were bothering them but they played through it,'' Raptors head coach Jay Triano said. ``I thought they did a pretty good job, both of them. You can see that we are a little bit different team with them on the floor, Jose is controlling the game.''
After the game, Bargnani needed a long time taking treatment on his knee before he met with the media.
``It doesn't feel so good yet, I have to keep working on it,'' he said. ``Once it gets warm it gets better. It definitely gets better during the game.``
Calderon made the decision to play earlier than Bargnani, even though both were game-time decisions.
``I was feeling a bit sore the last couple of days,'' Calderon said. ``But I went out there to work out and it felt good so I decided to go.''
With Sonny Weems on the bench the whole game with a sore lower back, Linas Kleiza played a career high 45 minutes for Toronto (10-17). He scored 18 points and tied his career best with 12 rebounds.
``He was huge,'' Triano said. ``I think early when Andrea wasn't going, he made shots. I know he can shoot the basketball, I think the big thing for us today was his rebounding. He had a real hunger for the ball.''
Brook Lopez led the Nets (7-20) with 20 points and Devin Harris added 15. Travis Outlaw scored 14 points and former Raptor Kris Humphries chipped in with 12 points, 12 rebounds for his eighth double double of the season.
The Raptors shot 46.5 per cent for the game and the Nets 45 per cent.
Bargnani scored 24 points in the second half.
``Every game I have played against him he has gotten better,'' Lopez said. ``He is a fantastic player and is always a great challenge for me. Obviously, he is knock down shooter and he plays very well off that.''
The Raptors won it by outscoring the Nets 29-21 in the fourth quarter as Bargnani scored 11 points.
``I see every day that he works hard, he can be a great player,'' Calderon said. ``We've got a lot of confidence in him. He's our guy. When he's out there on the court we're going to give him the ball.''
Bargnani opened the fourth quarter with four points to reverse the Nets' two-point into lead into a two-point Toronto advantage.
It didn't last long as the Nets answered with a couple of three-pointers to regain the lead, but Calderon's three put Toronto ahead 80-79 with eight minutes to play.
After Kleiza's three gave Toronto a two point lead, Leandro Barbosa scored on a layup off his steal to increase the lead to four with 6:23 to play.
Lopez hit on two free throws with 2:18 to play, trimming the lead to two, but Bargnani answered with a turnaround fade-away jumper.
Humphries scored to cut the lead to two again and the Nets regained possession with 1:14 to play on Kleiza's missed 21-foot jumper. The Nets missed on shots by Outlaw and Sasha Vujacic before Bargnani grabbed his ninth board.
DeMar DeRozan's dunk put Toronto up by four points before Lopez cut the lead to two with a tip-in. But Barbosa's three off Bargnani's pass put Toronto ahead 97-92 with 14 seconds to play.
``They pretty much took control of the game in the fourth quarter with a couple of huge momentum plays we gave up,'' Harris said. ``I thought we just didn't get enough shots in the fourth quarter. I thought offensively we played okay but defensively we lacked a little bit in the fourth quarter.''
The Raptors erased the Nets' six-point, half-time lead a minute and a half into the third, as Kleiza tied the game 50-50 with a three-point shot.
The Nets regained the lead by as many as five after that but Bargnani tied it again at 61-61 with a driving slam dunk. Bargnani, who scored eight points in the first half, scored 13 points in the third quarter but the Nets led 71-69.
The Nets ended an eight-game losing streak Thursday with a 97-89 win over Washington, but not before blowing a 23-point lead and allowing the Wizards to tie the game. They led by 17 at the half in that game.
The Nets lead after the first half Friday was smaller, 48-42, led by 11 points from Harris, while the Raptors had nine from DeRozan. The Nets shooting picked up in the second quarter and they were up to 44 per cent at the end of the first half. The Raptors were at 40 per cent.
New Jersey led 23-21 after the first quarter despite shooting 38 per cent from the floor compared to the Raptors 41 per cent.
The Raptors lost six of their seven previous games before Friday.
Notes: Amir Johnson fouled out of the game with 3:34 to play with six points and three rebounds in 22 minutes. ... Nets assistant coach Sam Mitchell had a 156-189 record as Raptors head coach from 2004-08. ... Nets forward Quinton Ross was limited to two minutes because of a sore back. ...The Raptors and Nets will play two games in London March 4-5 -- the first regular-season NBA games played in Europe -- at The O2 arena, site of the 2012 Summer Olympics. The Raptors were last in Europe in 2007, when they held training camp in Treviso, Italy followed by pre-season games in Rome and Madrid. ... Raptors forward Peja Stojakovic missed his 11th game in a row with a swollen left knee. ... Air Canada Centre attendance Friday was 14,623. ... The Los Angeles Lakers visit the Raptors on Sunday.