Bargnani finds both highs, lows

STEVE BUFFERY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 11:48 AM ET

It was almost as if Andrea Bargnani heard the wise acre in the Air Canada Centre stands.

With 2:42 left in last night's Raptors home opener against the Milwaukee Bucks, Toronto point guard Jose Calderon fed Bargnani a quick pass under the basket, but the ball slipped through the Italian rookie's hands, out of bounds, giving Milwaukee possession.

"Take the olive oil off your hands!" the fan yelled.

ALLEY-OOP PASS

Less than two minutes later, Calderon fed Bargnani a highlight-reel alley-oop pass and Bargnani not only held on, but slammed it down hard for a 109-89 lead, much to the sold-out crowd's delight.

It's going to be that kind of season for Bargnani, the first overall pick from this year's NBA draft.

Given his talent, there are going to be nights when he dazzles the ACC crowds, followed by nights when his inexperience catches up to him and the fans won't be as supportive.

He got a bit of both last night. But the 21-year-old insisted again last night, following Toronto's 109-92 victory, that he is ready for it, though he admitted that he is getting sick of reporters asking him over and over if he is happy in a Toronto uniform.

"Two days ago, I was sick (of it). Now, I just answer," he said, with a laugh. "But I'm very happy.

"Like I told you a lot of times, I try to do the stuff the coach asks me to do, rebounds, simple stuff.

Bargnani played 10 minutes last night, mostly in the first quarter and garbage time in the fourth, and came away with four points, a blocked shot and five rebounds.

There are always going to be doubters as to whether the Raptors were correct in drafting him first overall, and it will be up to head coach Sam Mitchell to give the big kid minutes, in aid of his development, without hurting the team.

"He is fine. He is a rookie. He is going to have good nights, he is going to have sub-par nights. It's just part of the process of being a rookie in the NBA," said Mitchell, who has played Bargnani 19 minutes total in the first two regular season games. "All rookies go through it."


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