Knicks-Raptors Preview

Carmelo Anthony won’t be with the New York Knicks on Saturday

night, but he wouldn’t have been the center of attention to Toronto

Raptors fans anyway.

Andrea Bargnani plays his first regular-season game in Toronto

since joining New York as these teams complete a home-and-home

set.

Anthony won’t make the trip and will miss his third straight

game with a sprained left ankle. New York (9-20) fell 95-83 at home

to Toronto on Friday without him after leading by as many as 12

points in the second half.

It marked Bargnani’s first game against the team that drafted

him No. 1 overall in 2006. He finished with team highs of 18 points

and 12 rebounds, but scored just four points on 1-of-5 shooting

after halftime while missing both shots in a fourth quarter in

which the Knicks were outscored 29-12.

“He came out at halftime, he had 14 points,” coach Mike Woodson

said. “I thought he had great looks in that third and fourth

quarter. Unfortunately he was only able to get two shots (in the

fourth).”

Bargnani spent the first seven years of his career with Toronto

before getting shipped to New York this summer. He had 10 points in

22 minutes in a 100-91 loss at the Air Canada Centre in a preseason

game Oct. 11 in which he was booed throughout the contest – the

same treatment Raptors fans gave to Vince Carter after he left the

club.

The Knicks were outrebounded 50-42 on Friday. Woodson indicated

that he will employ his big men differently Saturday with Amare

Stoudemire and Kenyon Martin seeing more minutes.

“I think fatigue started to set in,” Woodson said. “I played

Bargnani, I think about 37 minutes and Tyson (Chandler) was right

at 30, 32-33 minutes as well. I just got to get Kenyon and Amare

some more minutes tomorrow night and kind of ride them a little bit

and see what happens.”

Toronto coach Dwane Casey may have outmaneuvered the embattled

Woodson by using reserve John Salmons for the entire fourth

quarter. Salmons limited J.R. Smith to four points on 2-of-7

shooting in the period after the Knicks swingman scored 13 points

on 5-of-8 shooting over the first 36 minutes.

“What he’s doing on the defensive end is definitely carrying

over to the rest of us,” Raptors guard DeMar DeRozan said. “He

guards the best player and tonight it was J.R. Smith.”

Toronto (12-15) has won five of seven since the players it

acquired in the Dec. 9 deal that sent Rudy Gay to Sacramento made

their Raptors debuts.

The Atlantic Division leaders have used strong finishes in their

last three victories, winning 109-108 in overtime at Dallas last

Friday and outscoring Oklahoma City 29-14 in the fourth of Sunday’s

impressive 104-98 road victory.

”Last year we were in a ton of situations, late-game situations

we couldn’t pull out. We’d kind of fold under the pressure, get

frustrated or let a big shot frustrate us,” DeRozan said. ”Now,

we don’t let none of that get to us.”

DeRozan led Toronto with 25 points while Jonas Valanciunas

dominated Chandler inside with 16 points and a career-high 18

rebounds.