Raptors v. Spurs: Andrea Bargnani Beats Tim Duncan at the ACC Again

Stephen Brotherston@@ProBballNBAAnalyst IJanuary 4, 2010

BOSTON - JANUARY 12:  Andrea Bargnani #7 of the Toronto Raptors takes a shot in the second half against the Celtics on January 12, 2007 at the TD Banknorth Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. The Toronto Raptors defeated the Boston Celtics 95-86. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images

On the night Chris Bosh passed Vince Carter for the most points scored by a Toronto Raptors player, the Raptors beat the San Antonio Spurs 91-86 in a game decided by defense.

And Bosh had a good game: going 10 for 24 from the field, scoring 22 important points, and, reaching 9,248 career points to surpass Vince Carter’s Raptors record of 9,420 in the Toronto Raptors win.

It was Bosh’s night to be recognized for his efforts with the Raptors' franchise.

But it was Andrea Bargnani’s night to defend one of the best power forwards the NBA has ever seen.  Bargnani was left to face Tim Duncan one-on-one on the elbow and in the post all night as Jay Triano’s plan was to stay on shooters and take away the Spurs three-point opportunities.

And Bargnani’s defense in the post was outstanding.

With Duncan coming off the bench instead of starting, Bargnani blocked layups from Theo Ratliff and Manu Ginobili in the first quarter to help set the tone for the Raptors' defense in this game.

And Duncan played 29 minutes after entering the game with two minutes gone in the second quarter, forcing Bargnani to play 41.5 minutes on the second night of a back-to-back.

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But Bargnani rode Duncan into a 8-22 shooting night and held him to 21 points.  Bargnani blocked Duncan three times, altered many more shots, and stood his ground in the post.

Bargnani’s fourth quarter stand against Duncan was particularly impressive as the Spurs went into the post time and again as they fought to get back into the game.  The Italian forward blocked Duncan twice and held him to 2-for-6 from the field.

And in a game where Bargnani had also struggled from the field, going 5-for-16 for 15 points, he went 2-for-3 in the fourth quarter and hit the Raptors' only three-pointer of the game.

Note that Bosh had a couple of nice blocks in the fourth as well on Richard Jefferson and Keith Bogans.

On this night, the much maligned defense of the Toronto Raptors broke the Spurs' (20-11) five-game winning streak by holding the Spurs to just 41.2 percent shooting.

Surprisingly, some have already been slighting this Raptors accomplishment with excuses for the visiting powerhouse Spurs.

But this isn’t the first time Bargnani has been a key player in beating the Spurs at the ACC.

Last season, in what was one of few memorable nights at the ACC, the Toronto Raptors defeated Tim Duncan and the Spurs 91-89.  And they did it without their all-star Chris Bosh or Jose Calderon.

On February 11, 2009 Andrea Bargnani led the 21-34 Toronto Raptors in scoring with 23 points and 8 rebounds to surprise the 35-16 San Antonio Spurs.

And like this year’s contest, Tim Duncan was held to 8 of 18 shooting and 20 points in the loss.

Maybe the Spurs just can’t take the cold?

In a night sure to be remembered as a milestone marking Chris Bosh’s amazing offensive talents, maybe Andrea Bargnani will remember blocking Tim Duncan three times and holding the league’s best power forward to just 36 percent shooting.

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