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Bargnani's back-to-back struggles Add to ...

The Raptors were due for a stinker, and giving up 130 points to Indiana stinks. It will be interesting to see how the Raptors' depth holds up with Calderon out (presumably) as well as DeRozan and perhaps Turkoglu.

But what I'll be most interested in tonight against the Nets, though they may not provide the best measure, is how Bargnani will perform on the second night of a back-to-back after logging a career-high 34 against the Pacers (and as an aside, can you have a less satisfying career night? You get blown out; you don't lead your team in scoring; you have two rebounds until two meaningless ones in the final couple of minutes, you shoot 2-of-6 from the line and you have no assists. Even at his best, Bargnani makes you think: "Meh, there's a lot of room for improvement").

I mentioned yesterday that I think Bargnani's could be in better condition. This isn't to say he's out of shape or that he doesn't take care of his fitness. He's a pretty diligent guy from what I've observed. He stretches a lot, and he does this thing after practice all the time where he lies on his back with his legs elevated against the wall. It's very Euro.

But there is clearly a different level he can get to. He added some size and strength after year two and it provided some benefit, but I wonder how much better he would be if he bumped up his power and conditioning by even 5 per cent?

By way of evidence I give you his performance on the second night of back-to-backs this season. The Raptors have been pretty abysmal as a group, with just a 3-8 record in these situations.

But don't blame Bosh, who made some well publicized gains in his strength and fitness this past off-season. Over 10 games on the second night of back-to-backs Bosh is averaging 24.5 points and 11.6 rebounds without the benefit of a day's rest, almost exactly on par with his overall numbers. The only blip is his field goal percentage slides from a stellar 52.3 per cent (seriously, how good is that for a primary scorer who also gets to the free throw line all the time?) to a still respectable 48.9 per cent.

In contrast, Bargnani's efficiency falls off a cliff. He is averaging 12 points and 6.2 rebounds and shooting a brick-like 38 per cent from the floor and 28.2 per cent from deep. The scary thing is those numbers are an improvement over his career trend. In 60 games playing with no rest he's shooting just 36 per cent from the floor.

Bosh, to his credit, has always been pretty consistent playing with no rest. He's shooting 49.3 per cent in 104 career starts. I guess the advertisement for his improved conditioning is that he's been able to maintain his gains in production and efficiency even without the benefit of a day off.

Bargnani is best on two day's rest. He shoots 52 per cent, though the rust seems to hurt his deep stroke as he connects on just 32.5 per cent of his triples. With a day between games he shoots 47.6 per cent and 41.9 per cent from beyond the arc.

It would be interesting to see what happened if Bargnani elevated his training to a more Olympic-type approach. His skills are increasingly well-rounded and they always need work, but to my eye that's not where the most gains in his game are to come in the future.

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