Friday, October 31, 2008

Raptors: OK, who taught the Italian to play?

Andrea Bargnani continues to be the worst post game interview in the world ("I don't know, he says with a snarl. "I just try hard). But, if he continues to play like he did tonight in the Raptors home opening 112-108 OT win over Golden State, he's going to get a lot of practice at it.

Seriously, where the hell did that come from? The man was an animal tonight. The outside jumper looked positively 2006 (8 for freakin 10) and---you better sit down for this--he was a presence underneath. He had three blocks and it was his early inside work that opened up space for the jumper. It was the Bargnani Raps fans dreamed of back when Bryan Colangelo took a flyer on the Italian kid.

Let's not overlook his 30 minutes either. On a team that is still struggling to find the right mix on the second unit, it's vital that Bargnani step it up. This was a game that saw four Warriors with more than 45 minutes. One other topped 40. Those minutes had to factor in the overtime. Golden State looked more like South Alabama State in the first four minutes of the extra frame when T.O. pulled away.

The Italian's performance allowed Raps fans to overlook what was overall an ugly effort. The Warriors controlled things for long stretches of the third and fourth quarter. Bosh's jumper was flat (he finished 12 of 24) and Jermaine O'Neal was held to just five points (although he chipped in with three blocks).

Things changed in the last two minutes. Golden State stopped driving and Bosh came alive. Anthony Parker, who had his typical, professional, workmanlike effort, had a real good look at the buzzer to win, rimming out. The OT was all Toronto, with the final flattering Golden State, who nailed a couple garbage threes late.

So, 2-0. If the Raps can keep finding ways of winning games where they struggle at times and if Bargnani keeps giving them a true sixth man threat...those 47 win predictions may be selling the team short.

Update: One nagging negative. From Doug Smith's in-game blog (shhhh, don't tell the Oilers):
Maybe this is why Sam was yelling "Jamario, rebound!" Moon's played 27 minutes and has as many rebounds as I do. (That'd be zero for those of you keeping score at home). He had one in 24 minutes at Philly the other night. That's simply unacceptable.
What he said.

No comments: