Shootaround Report: Spotlight On Bargnani In Toronto Return

All the talk is about Andrea Bargnani's tonight, and for good reason. The former Raptors No. 1 overall pick makes his return to Toronto in only his second preseason game as a member of the Knicks. He said after this morning's shootaround at Ryserson College that it's "a weird feeling" to be back, but he stressed that he's focused on learning what he needs to learn to help the Knicks. He also noted that Carmelo Anthony and Tyson Chandler, in particular, are helping to ease the transition on the court. 

Speaking of Chandler and Melo...both spoke about Bargnani's addition to the lineup in recent days. After the preseason opener in Providence on Wednesday, Anthony said a big part of Bargs' acclimation process will be dealing with being so open in the Knicks's offense. He said that the 7-footer has one of the deadliest shot fakes in the league, but he "wants to put that pump fake in his pocket for a little bit" because he won't need it as often when defenders are focused on Melo.

This morning, Chandler added that having such a versatile scorer out there with him "changes a lot. It opens the space up for me because guys gotta honor him when he pops out. It gives you more room to operate." 
 
Lineup notes

Coach Woodson said that he'll go with the same starters (Raymond Felton, Pablo Prigioni, Anthony, Bargnani and Chandler) in what he called "a big lineup." "I don't know how long I'll stay with it," he added. The "it" sounded like he was talking about minutes in tonight's game, but there's a chance he was speculating about the lineup in future games. Stay tuned...

Looking back

Chandler was encouraged by the preseason opener against the Celtics, calling it "as good of a first game that you could have." He was especially impressed by the Knicks' spacing when the first and second units were on the floor.

Looking ahead

When asked about resting veterans this preseason, Woodson said he'd evaluate the workload for tomorrow's game after tonight's. "I'll see who wants to sit down," he said. One person he did say is likely to rest is Metta World Peace, although "he's tough, because he wants to play. So we'll see."

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