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Old 11-26-2009, 10:05 AM   #1 (permalink)
Acie
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B&B Could Form a Killer Combination

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If you go by statistics, one could make an argument Bosh and Bargnani are third-best. Bosh is averaging 25.4 points and 11.9 rebounds and Bargnani 17.4 and 6.5. In this era, getting 42.8 points and 18.4 rebounds per game out of your two low-post starters is impressive.

Of course, there's one statistic that doesn't look too good. The Raptors, expected by many to return to the playoffs after beefing up their roster, are a mere 7-9.

"Statistically, they're certainly putting up good numbers,'' Toronto general manager Bryan Colangelo said of his duo. "But, at the end of the day, we're not judged on stats. We're judged on team performance.''

Lately, that been quite uneven. The Raptors have dropped five of their past seven games, including an embarrassing 116-81 loss Wednesday at Charlotte.

"I would say we're up there, but we still have a long ways to go,'' Bosh said in comparing Toronto's duo to other top NBA low-post combinations. "We're both young players. There are still a lot of things that we can get better at... I think [Bargnani is] getting more comfortable and confident.''

Bargnani, a 42-percent shooter from three-point range who is hardly a traditional center, certainly is. Taken with the top pick in the 2006 draft, Bargnani at times looked to be in jeopardy of any BB initials standing for "Big Bust.'' In his first two seasons, he averaged 10.8 points and 3.8 rebounds while shooting 40.5 percent.

But Bargnani, 24, started to turn things around during the second half of last season, and finished the campaign with averages of 15.4 points and 5.3 rebounds. Although he's still a poor rebounder for a 7-footer, he did enough to get a five-year, $50 million contract extension that kicks in for 2010-11.

Some of Bargnani's future development hinges on whether Bosh returns. Any player would be much better alongside a four-time All-Star.

"We've been doing a pretty good job together,'' Bargnani said. "The most important thing is to try to win (so Bosh will stay). That's the main thing. I hope he stays. But I don't know. Nobody knows ... He will do whatever he wants to do. I just hope he stays.''

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