Raptors sick of being Bullied

James Johnson was disgusted with how the Raptors played against the Knicks earlier this week....

James Johnson was disgusted with how the Raptors played against the Knicks earlier this week. They'll get another crack at them tonight at the ACC.

Ryan Wolstat, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:42 PM ET

One day, the Raptors hope to be a lot more like the league-leading Chicago Bulls.

On Wednesday the Bulls showed Toronto what a top team does when it doesn’t have its best and/or is missing a star player like Derrick Rose.

Hang around for a spell, before turning it up in the fourth, the period of games that really matter.

Afterwards, head coach Dwane Casey and his players recognized what happened and could not help but be impressed.

“They know what they’ve got to do and we have to be the same way. If we’re not making shots, we have to slow the other team down,” said third-year guard DeMar DeRozan.

“They’ve been there, done that and it’s not an accident that they have the best record in the league. They did it when they had to,” Casey said.

“We’ve got to learn how to make those easy shots, not have crucial turnovers. We always have a stretch that comes up to bite us.”

But the Bulls seldom do and Andrea Bargnani thinks a lot of the reason why is because they have been together, building a contender for a while.

“I think it’s experience as well,” he said.

“They’re used to winning, the fourth quarter, they know what to do. We don’t have that mentality yet. We have to get better.”

The process of growing up will continue on Friday at home against the Knicks, who crunched the Raptors earlier in the week.

Toronto has not forgotten that one.

“Our defence was horrible against New York,” said James Johnson.

Luckily, the team gets a quick turnaround to make good.

“You know, it always sucks when you lose like how we lost. (But) it’s good to kind of hurry up and get that taste out of your mouth,” Johnson said.

For that to happen, Andrea Bargnani will probably have to find his game.

The big man has had all kinds of trouble hitting shots since returning from his calf strain. In eight March games, Bargnani is averaging just 12.5 points — about half of what he was putting up earlier in the year — on 33.7% shooting, including 14.3% marksmanship from three-point range.

“Offensively I’m playing bad,” he said plainly.

Bargnani and Casey both said once he gets more repetitions and game action, Bargnani will be fine.

“He had some good looks, missed some shots,” Casey said.

“He’s trying to find it. If you’re a shooter, you’re not going to forget. He’ll get it back. I trust that he’s going to get his three-point shooting (and) his offence back.

“It’s not from a lack of effort. He’s been playing hard, but you lose a month or 20 games, I don’t care who you are, it affects your approach at both sides of the floor.”

Fine, but at some point the real Bargnani needs to reappear.

Or else the final month of the season will be an ugly one indeed.

Tipoff

KNICKS AT RAPTORS

7 P.M. TSN/FAN 590

MARQUEE MATCHUP

Jeremy Lin vs.

Jose Calderon

With Jerryd Bayless hobbled by a hip pointer, it will be up to Calderon to slow down Jeremy Lin, who is on another good roll and dropped 18 points and 10 assists when the teams met last week. Calderon was off his game in Wednesday’s loss to Chicago and will have to rebound. Lin seems to have found his comfort level under new head coach Mike Woodson and is getting more out of stars Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire.

SCOUTING REPORT

New York’s defence continues to stand out under Woodson. New York has won five straight to move within a game of .500. The team has only been surrendering about 87 points a game in those five games.

did you know?

New York and Toronto have almost identical season averages in points allowed per game, field goal percentage, rebounds, assists and turnovers per game … The game will be broadcast in English, French (TVA Sports), and Mandarin (OMNI). It will be the first Mandarin language Raptors game in team history … Bayless is questionable … Raptors can split the four-game season series with a win.

 


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