TORONTO — DeMar DeRozan and Andrea Bargnani are becoming a solid 1-2 scoring punch for the Toronto Raptors.
Bargnani led Toronto with 30 points and DeRozan was close behind with 28 points in a 118-112 victory Sunday over the Sacramento Kings at Air Canada Centre.
DeRozan, who took over as the Raptors’ big scorer when Bargnani was injured, has continued to impress since Bargnani returned Jan. 4 after missing four games with a strained calf.
“I think DeMar has the ability to be aggressive, even when Andrea’s on the floor,” Raptors head coach Jay Triano said. “They’re our two best offensive options and they both found a way to score in different ways tonight.”
The Raptors did not have problems scoring, shooting 58.5 per cent from the floor in a game where defence often was lacking. Bargnani shot 12-for-19 from the floor and DeRozan was 13-for-20.
“Offensively, it was good,” Bargnani said. “We didn’t play good defence the whole game. We got better in the last five minutes and that’s what got us the win.”
Bargnani knows that DeRozan, a second-year player, has the ability to develop into an offensive force.
“I’m not surprised. I know what he can do. I see him practice every day,” Bargnani said. “I’m glad he’s finally showing on the court, in the games, what he’s capable of doing.”
Beno Udrih led Sacramento (8-26) with 25 points and Carl Landry added 22 points off the bench. Jason Thompson added 19 points and DeMarcus Cousins had 18 for the Kings.
Leandro Barbosa provided a boost for Toronto (13-24) coming off the bench to score 18 points with 11 coming in the fourth quarter. He hit two important threes in the fourth and was 3-for-3 from three-point land.
“Leandro works hard,” said Triano. “Seven-for-11 shooting and 3-for-3 from the three, we have got to keep finding ways to keep him on the floor.
Kings head coach Paul Westphal had praise for the top three Raptor scorers on the game and felt his team played well enough.
“It was a good individual effort and a good team effort that you don’t normally lose,” Westphal said. “We couldn’t stop Bargnani, DeRozan or Barbosa and to some extent (Jerryd) Bayless as well who was beating us off the dribble. Our team defence really wasn’t good enough to make up for their aggressive penetration.”
It was DeRozan’s eighth game with 20 or more points this season and five of them have come in past 10 games.
“My teammates and coaching staff have the faith in me, getting the ball into my hands and allowing me to create,” DeRozan said.
One reason for his increased scoring is that injuries have given him more chances to get the ball. But Triano said that shouldn’t be a factor in the future when the injured players return.
“Even if they’re back, we still expect DeMar to be one of our top two scoring options,” Triano said. “He’s starting to really come into his own as an offensive player, especially when he can drive the ball to the basket like he did today.”
The Raptors made their first 10 shots of the game and hit on 15-of-20 (75 per cent) from the floor in taking a 34-31 lead after the first quarter. The Kings shot 13-for-20 (65 per cent) in the first quarter.
The Raptors led 57-50 at the half but it was 85-85 after three quarters. The Raptors outscored the Kings 33-27 in the fourth quarter.
“We missed easy shots and they made some big-time shots,” said Kings small forward Francisco Garcia who scored 13 points.
Notes: Toronto’s Jerryd Bayless returned after missing the past two games with a sprained left ankle. … Sonny Weems missed his 11th straight game with back spasms. … Sacramento’s Tyreke Evans did not play because of a sprained left ankle. … The Raptors are home to Atlanta on Wednesday. … Vernon Wells, Jesse Litsch, Adam Lind and Travis Snider of the Toronto Blue Jays were courtside. They tossed souvenirs into the stands during a timeout in the second quarter.