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Knicks-Raptors Preview

AP - Sports

Carmelo Anthony won't be with the New York Knicks on Saturday night, but he wouldn't have been the center of attention to Toronto Raptors fans anyway.

Andrea Bargnani plays his first regular-season game in Toronto since joining New York as these teams complete a home-and-home set.

Anthony won't make the trip and will miss his third straight game with a sprained left ankle. New York (9-20) fell 95-83 at home to Toronto on Friday without him after leading by as many as 12 points in the second half.

It marked Bargnani's first game against the team that drafted him No. 1 overall in 2006. He finished with team highs of 18 points and 12 rebounds, but scored just four points on 1-of-5 shooting after halftime while missing both shots in a fourth quarter in which the Knicks were outscored 29-12.

"He came out at halftime, he had 14 points," coach Mike Woodson said. "I thought he had great looks in that third and fourth quarter. Unfortunately he was only able to get two shots (in the fourth)."

Bargnani spent the first seven years of his career with Toronto before getting shipped to New York this summer. He had 10 points in 22 minutes in a 100-91 loss at the Air Canada Centre in a preseason game Oct. 11 in which he was booed throughout the contest - the same treatment Raptors fans gave to Vince Carter after he left the club.

The Knicks were outrebounded 50-42 on Friday. Woodson indicated that he will employ his big men differently Saturday with Amare Stoudemire and Kenyon Martin seeing more minutes.

"I think fatigue started to set in," Woodson said. "I played Bargnani, I think about 37 minutes and Tyson (Chandler) was right at 30, 32-33 minutes as well. I just got to get Kenyon and Amare some more minutes tomorrow night and kind of ride them a little bit and see what happens."

Toronto coach Dwane Casey may have outmaneuvered the embattled Woodson by using reserve John Salmons for the entire fourth quarter. Salmons limited J.R. Smith to four points on 2-of-7 shooting in the period after the Knicks swingman scored 13 points on 5-of-8 shooting over the first 36 minutes.

"What he's doing on the defensive end is definitely carrying over to the rest of us," Raptors guard DeMar DeRozan said. "He guards the best player and tonight it was J.R. Smith."

Toronto (12-15) has won five of seven since the players it acquired in the Dec. 9 deal that sent Rudy Gay to Sacramento made their Raptors debuts.

The Atlantic Division leaders have used strong finishes in their last three victories, winning 109-108 in overtime at Dallas last Friday and outscoring Oklahoma City 29-14 in the fourth of Sunday's impressive 104-98 road victory.

''Last year we were in a ton of situations, late-game situations we couldn't pull out. We'd kind of fold under the pressure, get frustrated or let a big shot frustrate us,'' DeRozan said. ''Now, we don't let none of that get to us.''

DeRozan led Toronto with 25 points while Jonas Valanciunas dominated Chandler inside with 16 points and a career-high 18 rebounds.

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