Bargnani looks good in debut as Raptors beat Wiz
WASHINGTON -- Out at the top of the 3-point arc, Andrea Bargnani grabbed a loose ball and immediately rose to take his first shot as an NBA player.
Not a shred of hesitation.
The 7-foot, 250-pound Italian -- the first European ever taken No. 1 -- entered as a substitute about 5½ minutes into the game and also showed some rough edges: He picked up three personal fouls within four minutes.
"I need to improve the same things I did in Italy. It's not a whole new world. It's still basketball," Bargnani said. "If I don't do well on defense, I won't be on the floor."
Bargnani (Bar-NYAH-nee) finished 3-of-6 from the field, including 2-for-2 on 3s. He finished with five fouls.
"That's just all young guys," Raptors coach Sam Mitchell said. "There's no way around the growing pains. There's no short cuts."
Still, Bargnani did draw offensive fouls from Wizards centers Brendan Haywood and Etan Thomas, both times with a bit of an exaggerated lean backward -- a veteran move by Bargnani, who turns 21 this month.
"It's a bit fast right now. He has to get adapted to the game," said Wizards All-Star guard Gilbert Arenas, who scored 29 points. "I'd say halfway through the season is when he'll hit his stride."
It was the first exhibition game this season between two NBA teams (others played against European squads), and Wizards coach Eddie Jordan said beforehand that Arenas wanted to play 46 of the 48 possible minutes. Turned out, Arenas played 30.
"I want to get into the rhythm quick," Arenas said.
Washington played its starting unit -- Arenas and free-agent addition DeShawn Stevenson at guard, Antawn Jamison and Caron Butler at forward, Haywood at center -- for nearly the entire first quarter and much of the third. Toronto substituted more freely.
After losing in the first round of the playoffs to LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers, Jordan wants his players to focus on defense. The Raptors missed their first four field goal attempts, and eight of nine, shooting 21.1 percent in the first quarter and 38 percent overall.
Wizards guard Jarvis Hayes saw his first action since December. He missed parts of the past two seasons with a broken right knee cap and had surgery in February.
Hayes made his first shot, a jumper 2½ minutes into the second quarter, and ended up 6-of-11 for 14 points.
"It felt good. I was real nervous coming into the game," Hayes said. "I wanted to come out and get the kinks out."
Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press
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