TORONTO - A massive error at the end soured a statement game for Andrea Bargnani.
Coming off a self-described “terrible” performance in a loss to Golden State on Monday, Bargnani was a different player in Toronto’s crushing 101-96 loss to the Charlotte Bobcats.
But the good will be overshadowed by the bad, since Bargnani, out at the three-point line looking for a tie with seconds remaining, was cleanly stripped by Charlotte’s Stephen Jackson who went on to make free throws.
“I lost the ball so there’s no more to describe,” said a frustrated Bargnani in a quiet Raptors locker room.
“He tipped it away. We had an opportunity to win.”
Despite the miscue, Bargnani was a major reason why his team was in position to pull out its second win of the season late.
Bargnani had a great block at the rim on Gerald Wallace early, a fine help-block later that was incorrectly credited to Amir Johnson and started five-for-six from the field (a key part of Toronto’s 63% shooting first quarter).
He also decided to hit the boards hard after managing just one against the Warriors.
But the individual numbers meant nothing to him.
“You can’t think about yourself in this kind of situation,” Bargnani said.
“We are one and seven, so I’m just upset about the game.”
Aside from the lost ball and four other turnovers, Bargnani also missed a late three that would have tied the game, but scored on a driving layup seconds later.
In all, Bargnani notched 23 points and added nine rebounds.
But it was the play he didn’t make that will stand out.
Who’s the Bosh?
Wallace — the best player on the court with 1 x9 points, 14 rebounds and four blocks — was a little surprised when asked if this Raptors team is any different than previous editions.
“(Expletive), Chris Bosh, I mean, that’s obvious. Other than that there’s no difference,” Wallace said.
“They play pretty much the same. Their energy level isn’t as positive as it used to be but obviously, you take a Chris Bosh off of your team — they still have great shooters — but, I just think that presence down in the post they had that was so dominant for years is lost.”
Jackson — who scored 10 of his 20 points in the fourth quarter — was pretty pleased that his gamble paid off.
“(Bargnani) had been killing us all game and I just wanted to make it uncomfortable and thank God I was able to get my hand on the ball,” he said.
The Raptors are building up quite the infirmary ward.
Guard Leandro Barbosa missed the game due to his strained left shoulder and Reggie Evans went down in the fourth quarter with a bruised hip and did not return after notching 10 rebounds.
Linas Kleiza (Achilles) played but looked way off (four points, two-for-seven shooting), while Jack (knee) also started and turned in a nice effort.
Rookie Ed Davis is still not ready to make his NBA debut.
First a monitor caught on fire at press row, shutting down the transmission of statistics for a while, then the Raptors decided to emulate their corporate cousins early in the second half.
Like the low-scoring Maple Leafs, the Raptors forgot how to finish.
It took the team four minutes and three seconds to score a point in the third quarter.
Luckily for Toronto, Charlotte only managed six over the same span.
Charlotte point guard D.J. Augustin said prior to the game: “I’ve been playing on my birthday all my life, it’s great.”
He obviously enjoyed his 23rd birthday, which coincided with a strong performance against the Raptors.
Augustin tallied 16 points, along with seven assists.