Andrea Bargnani had 24 points and 12 rebounds, helping the Toronto Raptors get off to a sizzling start in a 112-104 victory over the New York Knicks on Friday night.
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.
Al Harrington scored 31 points, Danilo Gallinari had 26 and David Lee finished with 25 points, 14 rebounds and nine assists for the Knicks.
With Bargnani and Marco Belinelli playing for the Raptors and Gallinari for New York, the Knicks called it "Italian Heritage Night," though the festivities got off to an unfortunate start when the public address announcer introduced Bargnani as being from Spain.
The game was televised live at 2 a.m. in Italy, home of the 2004 Olympic basketball silver medalists. Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni was a star player and championship-winning coach in Italy.
"I'm just really happy to see a lot of Italian players playing in the league and I think there will be more," D'Antoni said before the game. "It's fun and obviously it conjures a lot of great memories that I had."
It wasn't any fun for him once the game started.
The Raptors made six of their first eight shots, then extended the lead to 24-8 after Bargnani drove down the lane for a powerful dunk that brought Toronto's bench players leaping to their feet in celebration. Apparently annoyed, Lee threw one down about a minute later and jumped up and down right in Bargnani's face, bumping into him and drawing a technical foul.
Toronto led 39-20 after one and kept right on rolling in the second, making 17 of its first 27 shots. The lead ballooned to 56-28 on Calderon's 3-pointer with 5:57 left in the half and the Raptors were up 67-43 at the break after shooting 59 percent.
The Knicks got back into it in the third behind 12 points from Harrington, whose 3-pointer cut it to 89-80 with 32 seconds remaining before DeRozan scored the final four points of the period.
NOTES: A potential free agent in July, Bosh isn't thinking much about trade rumors, a potential contract, or any other concerns off the court. "I just want to ... concentrate on playing basketball and address everything else when it's time to address it," he said. "For now we're trying to get above .500. We have enough challenges as a team so I don't want to really take on any extra baggage right now because my plate is full." ... Belinelli was ill and did not play. ... Knicks center Eddy Curry was inactive because of a sore left knee. D'Antoni laughed when asked how Curry, who hasn't played since Dec. 17, could have gotten hurt, then explained it probably came from how hard the center has worked.
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