Andrea Bargnani produced 25 points Friday night, his finest performance by far in his short Knicks career, in a 101-91 win over the Bobcats in Charlotte, N.C., but coach Mike Woodson was more impressed by the 7-footer’s effort on the defensive end, in his first start at center.

“Offensively, he might not be there every night, but I thought he did a lot of things from a defensive standpoint that was really good for our team,” Woodson said, cracking a rare smile. “I was pretty pleased with his play.”

Bargnani, a former No. 1 overall pick, was more aggressive at both ends of the floor filling in for injured center Tyson Chandler. He took a team-high 25 shots and made 11 of them, he blocked five shots, grabbed eight rebounds and dished out three assists.

“The team and the coaches are helping me since Day 1 to adjust to the new team and the new system so I try to help them to play my normal game, be aggressive, shoot when I’m open,” Bargnani said.

Bargnani certainly impressed J.R. Smith, who makes his return to the court Sunday against the Spurs after serving a five-game suspension for violating terms of the NBA’s anti-drug policy.

“I think [Bargnani] played unbelievable [Friday], especially from a defensive standpoint,” Smith said. “Everybody harps on he’s not a defensive player, he can’t do this, he can’t do that. I think he played great [Friday] and we’ve got to keep expecting big things from him.”

Iman Shumpert has been warned for flopping in Friday’s win over the Bobcats, the NBA announced. The Knicks guard joins a number of other players who already have been warned by the league this year. His next offense will incur a $5,000 fine.