Bargnani had 14 points for the Raptors, who never trailed. Toronto outscored Indiana 32-17 in the first quarter and began the second quarter on a 14-2 run, including eight points from Bargnani.
The Italian forward—the first European taken No. 1 overall—got off to a slow start this season, but has played better in recent games as coach Sam Mitchell has given him more playing time. The 7-footer showed a silky shooting touch—making 2 3-pointers and going 5-for-11 from the field.
Bargnani also showed a quick first step—driving to the basket for a finger roll on just one dribble—in the second quarter.
“He’s the first pick for a reason,” Toronto’s Jose Calderon said. “He’s a great player. We don’t have a lot of 7-footers like him, that shoot the ball like he does or take the ball to the basket like that.”
Bosh says Bargnani has gotten over early season jitters.
“It was a little bit of a shock to him coming in at first, but now he’s gotten acclimated,” Bosh said. “He’s gotten aggressive. He’s been working in the gym every day and it’s paying off. He can shoot the ball and keep people on their toes. He just keeps pressure on the defender. He goes by so quick that by the time the defender reacts he’s going up for a jump shot.”
Bargnani said the difference is playing time. He’s played more than 22 minutes in four straight games after barely playing in the first nine games.
Toronto general manager Bryan Colangelo urged Mitchell to play him more.
“How can you compare playing in one game 30 minutes and eight in another? You can’t,” said Bargnani, who got into early foul trouble in his first few games. “Some things are new for me, and the kind of game is completely different to the European game.”
Bosh, slowed by a right knee injury, went 6-for-18 from the field and was not a big factor as Toronto led early. Bosh had just 11 points in Friday’s loss to Atlanta.
Stephen Jackson and Danny Granger each had 18 points for the Pacers, who have trailed after the first quarter in 11 of 14 games this season. Coach Rick Carlisle joked after their last game that the NBA should let them start games in the third quarter.
“It’s hard digging out of a 15-point hole with 36 minutes to play,” Carlisle said. “It’s something that we have addressed. We’ve done a lot of lineup shifting. Maybe there will be more lineup shifting, I don’t know, but these kind of starts are going to get you beat on a consistent basis.”
Indiana shot just 32 percent in the first half. The Pacers trailed by as many as 27, but cut the lead to four in the third quarter with a 12-1 run capped by Tinsley’s driving layup.
But Toronto followed with a 17-4 run bridging the third and fourth quarters. Joey Graham and Calderon keyed the run for the Raptors with layups and tip-ins.
Graham had 12 points and eight rebounds and Calderon had 13 points and five assists in 24 productive minutes.
Rookie Jorge Garbajosa—Toronto’s new starting center—had 13 points and six rebounds.
“We have a terrible way of starting off games,” Jackson said. “It has been real contagious right now. It is hard to beat any team, whether it is the Raptors or not.”
The Pacers now head out west for a five road games … Toronto’s Morris Peterson, whose 371-game streak ended Wednesday, has missed three straight contests with a partial tear in his left elbow. … Many around the Raptors were still talking about how they robbed of two points in their loss to Atlanta on Friday night. A scoring error by the Atlanta stats crew cost Toronto two points in the fourth quarter. Atlanta ended up winning by two points after the error was discovered. Colangelo said there was no excuse for missing the error.