Bargnani, Evans Sharp In Preseason Opener

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Video: Sonny's Big Block | Game In Six | Triano

Mike Ulmer -
October 6, 2009

Its all a matter of perspective.

The Raptors lost their exhibition season opener 107-98 on Tuesday night in London, Ontario.

We found out where we are, said coach Jay Triano.

I thought I knew, so I asked just in case.

And where is that?

Weve played one pre-season game, he said.

No arguing with that. Which means the usual jumble of good and bad, rusty and whatever the word for not rusty is.

The Raptors were without Chris Bosh, still nursing a strained left hamstring. Hedo Turkoglu and Antoine Wright were also given the night off. If you like what you read, the same two teams play again tonight at Air Canada Centre.

Lets start with the good.

Andrea Bargnani played 22 minutes and poured in a game-high 22 points. Seems a $50 million contract agrees with him.

Bargnani was the only Raptor who seemed able to drive effortlessly. He was two of three from behind the three point arc, nine of 14 overall and he pulled down four boards.

Nice enough night for the fourth-year Raptor, but he was more concerned with his teams lack of defence.

We only have a short time to play our new defensive system, he said. We have to work a lot.

The Sixers, expected to make the playoffs this season, shot 50 per cent from the field. The Raptors shot 41 per cent and that will account for the nine-point gap.

For more good news, you need only turn to Reggie Evans, obtained from the Sixers for Jason Kapono. In 19 minutes, Evans set more jarring picks than the Raptors managed on many a night. He scored six points and collected three boards.

Weve seen that throughout our camp, Triano said. He practices the way he plays. Hes going to bring us energy. When he left the game in the first quarter, thats where our energy dropped.

Just the first game of pre-season, Evans said. Lots of new players. It was cool.

Playing in his first NBA game, DeMar DeRozan finished with nine points on three from seven shooting. DeRozan grabbed four rebounds and turned the ball over once. He spent much of his evening dealing with the very talented Andre Iguodala.

I think its great, learning a lesson like that, he said. Even before the season starts you are up against players like that. It just shows me how physical and talented these guys really are. Defensively he did some things but he made some mistakes as well, said Triano.

Our big thing with him will be limiting his minutes to where he can play with a real high intensity. Maybe he played a few too many minutes tonight, but we wanted to get him out there and see what he could do.

The rebounding star of the evening was Amir Johnson. Johnson pocketed 10 rebounds, including four offensive boards in just 22 minutes.

Over just 16 minutes, point guard Jose Calderon scored seven points and dished out three assists. Jarrett Jack played just over nineteen minutes. Jack collected eight points and three assists but, like Calderon, turned the ball over four times.