NEW YORK -- The only thing wrong with Andrea Bargnani's night was his introduction.
The public address announcer said he was from Spain. Bargnani is from Rome, and he put on a show for "Italian Heritage Night."
With the game featuring three Italian players being televised live in his home country at 2 a.m., Bargnani hurt the Knicks inside and out, making five 3-pointers and shooting 9 of 13 from the field.
"It was a big game in Italy. They were doing the game live in Italy, so everybody in Italy was watching this game," said Bargnani, the No. 1 pick in the 2006 draft.
"I was very excited about it because it was something special for me, too, because it's the first time three Italian players played together," Bargnani added. "You want to look good, you want to do something good."
He did, hitting all four 3-point attempts in the first quarter and throwing down a powerful dunk that brought Toronto players on the bench to their feet.
"He was pretty aggressive coming out to start the game," Raptors forward Chris Bosh said. "It was good for him to get himself going and establishing himself early."
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.
"They played extremely well. They are a very talented team, but we could've done better," Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni said. "We just didn't do it for whatever reason. Seemed like we were a little bit tight for the first couple of quarters."
With Bargnani and Marco Belinelli playing for the Raptors and Gallinari for New York, the game was a big event in Italy, home of the 2004 Olympic basketball silver medalists. 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 slam that brought Toronto's players on the bench 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 big thing is they came out shooting the ball unbelievable," Lee said. "They were running guys 6-10, 6-11 like Bargnani. Calderon shot the ball great from the field. Those are the two that I would say hurt us worst. We came out and our jump shots weren't going down. It was a tough first quarter."
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.
|Andrea Bargnani goes off for 24 points and 12 rebounds, and buries 9 of 13 attempts. (Getty Images)|
|Toronto (20-20) «||39||28||26||19||112|
|New York (16-23)||20||23||37||24||104|
|TOR:A. Bargnani 24 Pts
TOR:A. Bargnani 12 Reb
TOR:J. Calderon 6 Ast
|NY:A. Harrington 31 Pts
NY:D. Lee 14 Reb
NY:D. Lee 9 Ast
|Players of the Game|
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|A. Bargnani, C||39||9-13||1-2||12||1||3||24|
|H. Turkoglu, SF||34||4-10||2-4||9||5||2||13|
|C. Bosh, PF||31||7-10||4-6||4||1||3||18|
|D. DeRozan, SG||29||4-8||11-14||2||2||3||19|
|J. Jack, PG||22||3-8||3-3||4||1||1||10|
|J. Calderon, PG||26||9-14||0-0||0||6||0||21|
|S. Weems, SG||24||3-5||0-0||2||1||2||6|
|A. Johnson, SF||23||0-2||1-2||6||0||2||1|
|A. Wright, SF||12||0-3||0-0||2||0||2||0|
|R. Nesterovic, C||Did Not Play|
|R. Evans, PF||Did Not Play|
|M. Banks, PG||Did Not Play|
|M. Belinelli, SG||Did Not Play|
|P. O'Bryant, C||Did Not Play|
|Complete Box Score|
|D. Lee, C||48||11-22||3-5||14||9||3||25|
|D. Gallinari, SF||42||8-17||5-6||4||0||1||26|
|C. Duhon, PG||37||2-7||0-0||4||6||1||4|
|J. Jeffries, PF||31||1-3||2-2||10||2||5||4|
|W. Chandler, SF||24||3-8||3-3||4||1||5||9|
|A. Harrington, PF||38||11-22||4-4||5||0||3||31|
|N. Robinson, PG||16||2-7||0-0||1||2||1||5|
|J. Bender, SF||5||0-0||0-0||0||0||1||0|
|D. Milicic, C||Did Not Play|
|T. Douglas, PG||Did Not Play|
|J. Hill, PF||Did Not Play|
|E. Curry, C||Did Not Play|
|M. Landry, PF||Did Not Play|
|L. Hughes, SG||Did Not Play|
|C. Mobley, SG||Did Not Play|
|Complete Box Score|