The three-point shot was off, as was his conditioning, but coach Sam Mitchell liked what he saw of rookie Andrea Bargnani's return to the lineup during Wednesday night's final league game against Philadelphia.
In his first court action in nearly a month following an appendectomy, Bargnani scored 17 points against the 76ers in just under 27 minutes. He was good on 5-of-12 shots from the field, but was just 1-5 from beyond the arc where he normally is so effective.
"He played a little bit better than what I thought," Mitchell said. "It's just getting him back to playing defence and rebounding. It's probably his legs and a lot of time you just get mentally fatigued. He's got to get it back quickly."
LAND OF GIANTS
T.J. Ford knows he will have his work cut out for him trying to prevent Jason Kidd from filling up the stats sheet and intends to try to turn the tables on the Nets leader.
"I'm going to try to put the same pressure he is going to put on me, back on him," said Ford, who gives up nearly six inches to the 6-foot-5 Kidd, but has experience battling a big point guards in the playoffs.
In the Milwaukee Bucks' five-game loss to the Detroit Pistons last spring, Ford played 6-foot-3 all-star Chauncey Billups to a virtual standstill.
MOPETE AIMS TO PLAY
Morris Peterson, who suffered a hyperextended right knee Tuesday in Detroit, expects to be ready for tomorrow's opening game should his services be required.
"It's feeling a little better today," Peterson said. "I didn't go 100% in practice, but it's the playoffs and I'm just trying to get back. I should be okay by (tomorrow)."
T-TIME FOR VC
Time has done little to erase the hate many Raptors fans feel for Vince Carter.
Entrepreneurs are doing brisk internet business selling t-shirts with slogans such as FUVC, and a picture of Carter curled up on the court.