It’s a rather matter-of-fact Andrea Bargnani who stands and answers questions about his treatment by Raptors fans at the Air Canada Centre. The longest-serving member of the team has heard the boos in games the past couple of weeks. The derision is not overwhelming, but it’s difficult to ignore. And he faces queries head-on. “I’m not happy about it, obviously, but there’s nothing I can do about it,” he said after a Sunday workout. “There’s not much I can do. I have to keep working hard, especially in practice.” Bargnani’s treatment at home has taken some of the shine off exemplary play by the Raptors. They’ve won six of their last seven, with a chance to extend that streak with games against Washington and Cleveland early this week, and sit within four games of the eighth and final Eastern Conference playoff spot. “We’ve still got a shot at the playoffs so I’ve got to try to help as much as I can these last 25, 26 games we have,” he said. “Coming from a long injury, I have to find my shape, my rhythm.” Getting Bargnani fully involved offensively — his tentative play is doing nothing to boost the bench scoring — would be a significant improvement. Coach Dwane Casey knows he has to get more out of the seven-year veteran. “There are sets that we’re going to run more that feature Andrea,” Casey said. “He can go in the post. . . . We just have to get his mojo going. His demeanour is fine (with the team). We just have to get him aggressive offensively.” If Bargnani does become a more integral part of the offence and more engaged defensively, it’s going to make it hard for fans who are riding him to stay critical. Bargnani already has the support of his teammates and coaches — “That feels good,” he said. “He can control the crowd by his play, his approach, his body language,” the coach said.
Raptors’ Andrea Bargnani answers boobirds
Toronto Star | Feb 25