Belinelli has another reason to smile

MIKE GANTER, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:06 PM ET

TORONTO -- Marco Belinelli shook off a pre-season shooting slump to contribute a bench-high 10 points in the Raptors successful season opener on Wednesday.

Thursday, with he and his teammates still basking in the glow of their shocking win over the Cleveland Cavaliers, Belinelli had one more reason to smile.

General manager Bryan Colangelo pulled him aside after practice and informed the 23-year-old Italian that the Raptors were exercising the fourth year team option on his rookie scale contract. The decision means Belinelli is now guaranteed through the end of next season.

Score wins too

The Raptors weren’t the only local entity celebrating a big win Wednesday night.

The Score, which televised the season opener today announced that it drew a record audience of 420,000 during its broadcast, with a peak audience of 741,000 during the last half-hour. As the Raptors delivered a win over the Cleveland Cavaliers, The Score delivered the highest regular season Raptors audience across any Canadian network within the last decade.

The previous high for a regular season Raptors game was an audience of 238,000.

TRIANO TAKES BLAME

Raptors head coach Jay Triano said the two Jose Calderon missed free throws early in Wednesday’s game were actually the coach’s fault, not Calderon’s.

“I left him in too long because I’m trying to find a way to keep two of (Bosh, Bargnani, Turkoglu and Calderon) on the floor at all times. I’ll take credit for his two missed free throws because he had no legs. I gassed him out. Our coaches were saying we had to get him out but I didn’t want to go with four subs at that point in the game.”

NOT QUITE AS GOOD

While there was plenty to be happy about with the win over Cleveland, Triano admitted that a second look at the game film revealed some flaws he didn’t initially see in the team defence. “Our coverages weren’t as good as we thought,’ Triano said. “but the extra effort to guard guys and to scramble out of it was pretty darn good and I think that is what saved us.”


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