Posted January 26, 2012 on AP on Fox
Knicks_coach_dantoni_b502
The Denver Nuggets and Toronto Raptors both have leading scorers from Italy, but only one of those countrymen will be available Friday night. Danilo Gallinari and the surging Nuggets look for a sixth straight victory when they host a Raptors team that expects to be without Andrea Bargnani. Denver (13-5) is one of the biggest surprises in the NBA, with Gallinari averaging a career-high 17.7 points. He signed a four-year, $42 million contract extension Wednesday before scoring 21 of his 23 points in the first half of a 122-93 rout at Sacramento later that night. "The contract means a lot. It means this team, this franchise really believes in me,'' said Gallinari, who's averaged 27.0 points in his last three games. "I feel great about this team. It was easy for me to say yes to this contract." Bargnani, meanwhile, is averaging 23.5 points for Toronto (6-13). The sixth-year forward, however, reinjured his strained left calf late in Wednesday's 111-106 double-overtime win at Utah and wasn't optimistic about when he will be back on the court. "This time it's bad,'' Bargnani said. "I'm pretty sure I'm going to be out for a while." The Raptors ended a 12-game losing streak against the Jazz. Now they will try to end an eight-game slide against the Nuggets, as well as a run of seven straight defeats in Denver. "It's great to win after all those years for the franchise," point guard Jose Calderon said. "Hopefully I think Denver, we've kind of got to be in the same situation. I don't know if I won there, neither. That's the next one." Denver will return home in a confident mood after the first 5-0 road trip in franchise history. Six other Nuggets besides Gallinari also scored in double figures Wednesday, when Denver posted 92 points in the paint - the most since the NBA began keeping track of the statistic in 2000-01. "I like doing things that have never been done before," coach George Karl said. "Right now we have good energy, good focus, and guys are playing together." The Nuggets lead the league in scoring (106.4 points per game) and assists (24.7 per game). Andre Miller had 10 of Denver's 29 assists against the Kings. "The ball was moving tonight and the ball was going in the net,'' guard Ty Lawson said. "Everyone was touching the ball, everyone was sharing, and everyone was scoring. It was a fun game for us." Lawson wasn't around to see all of it, however. He left in the second quarter after spraining his left ankle and is expected to miss Friday's game. He hopes to return Sunday against the Clippers. Lawson's absence should help Toronto - the NBA's second-worst scoring team at 87.5 points per game - slow the pace a bit. They took advantage of Wednesday's extra sessions to top 100 for the first time in 18 games. Former Nuggets swingman Linas Kleiza scored a season-high 25 points. "Linas did a heckuva job," coach Dwane Casey said. "He really shot the ball well, he was aggressive offensively." Kleiza, who could replace Bargnani in the starting lineup, spent his first four seasons with Denver before signing with Toronto as a free agent before last season. This is his first game at Pepsi Center as a visitor after he missed last season's trip with a knee injury. The Raptors are seeking their first three-game win streak this season as well as their first three-game run on the road since Dec. 11-18, 2007.
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
RELATED ARTICLES

Nuggets thriving even with no headliner

Danilo Gallinari encountered a dogged defender on the court that he just couldn't shake. No matter what move he made, this bulldog of a defender shadowed the smooth-shooting Denver Nuggets forward everywhere he went at practice on Thursday. Finally, Gallinari did the only thing he could think of to get open: He leaned over and scooped up the furry new friend that had wandered...

Gallinari, Nuggets agree on 4-year extension

The Denver Nuggets signed the smooth-shooting Danilo Gallinari to a four-year extension on Wednesday, worth $42 million.

Danilo Gallinari Agrees to 4-Year, $42 Million Extension With Denver Nuggets

Danilo Gallinari is going to be in the Mile High City for the next few years, as Gallo agreed to a contract extension with the Nuggets. Reports the Denver Post: “The deal is done — Nuggets forward Danilo Gallinari has agreed to a four-year contract extension, a league source told The Denver Post. The 23-year-old small forward will make close to $42 million in that four year...

Denver, Gallinari reach 4-year extension

Denver Nuggets small forward Danilo Gallinari has agreed to a four-year, $42 million extension that will keep him with the Nuggets through 2016, a source confirmed to SI.com.

Gallinari, Nuggets agree to extension

The Denver Nuggets and Danilo Gallinari have agreed to a multi-year contract extension.

Denver Nuggets extend contracts of Danilo Gallinari, Kosta Koufos

There he was this month, his stoic Fellini-film face, his squared shoulders, his feet tap dancing on the hardwood as he stayed torso to torso with LeBron, with Kobe, with Melo.

Gallinari celebrates new deal with win (AP)

Danilo Gallinari celebrated a contract extension by scoring 21 of his 23 points in the first half and the Denver Nuggets routed the Sacramento Kings 122-93 on Wednesday night for their fifth straight victory and fifth in a row on the road. Denver led by 23 points at the half and scored the first eight points of the third quarter.

Danilo Gallinari celebrates contract extension, helps Nuggets rout Kings 122-93

(source feed provided no summary content for this entry)

Bargnani returns, Raptors end skid against Suns

Andrea Bargnani returned after missing six games with a left calf strain to score 27 of his 36 points in the second half, and the Toronto Raptors snapped an eight-game losing streak by beating Phoenix 99-96 on Tuesday night, their first win over the Suns in eight years.

The Starting 5: Bosh, Bargnani, Dwight Score, Melo Doesn't, & Painting With A Basketball

Every morning, we'll give you five things from the night before in the NBA to start your day. 1:  CARMELO DIDN'T HIT A SHOT!! OMG THE KNICKS MUST HAVE... ... smoked Charlotte and broken their six game losing streak.   Of course.  And of course, there's no gigantic correlation between the two (just like Miami wasn't better without Dwyane Wade).  The good thing...

The Starting 5: Bosh, Bargnani, Dwight Score, Melo Doesn't, & Painting With A Basketball

Every morning, we'll give you five things from the night before in the NBA to start your day. 1: CARMELO DIDN'T HIT A SHOT!! OMG THE KNICKS MUST HAVE... ... smoked Charlotte and broken their six game losing streak. Of course. And of course, there's no gigantic correlation between the two (just like Miami wasn't better without Dwyane Wade). The good thing about...

Ian Thomsen: New coach, a little faith help Bargnani develop into Raptors' leader

Former top draft pick Andrea Bargnani has taken a lot of heat for failing to lead the Raptors. But with a new coach and little faith, the 7-footer is proving critics wrong, says Ian Thomsen.
NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.