Oct 7, 2010, 2:35 PM EDT
Everybody on Toronto was lighting up the Phoenix Suns in their first exhibition game Wednesday night — when you put up 129 and win by 51 everybody is getting their shot to fall.
Well, except Andrea Bargnani, who was just 1-of-9 for three points. We’ll call it an off night and look the other way on that one (he may not be great, but he’s not 1 of 9 every night bad, either).
But one guy stepped up and is someone to watch this season — Linas Kleiza. In this game he was 7-of-9 shots, 4-of-4 from beyond the arc and finished with 20 points, 5 rebounds and chipped in a couple of steals.
This year Kleiza is a guy who could break out. He was a guy boxed in by the Denver system and players for years — Carmelo Anthony (and at times Allen Iverson) where the guys who created shots. Kleiza was there to knock down threes or dunk. Little else.
But he can do more. So he went to Olympiakos for a year where he was given more freedom — and he led the EuroLeague in scoring. Then this summer he was a force at the World Championships for Lithuania, scoring 19 points a game, shooting 52 percent and 38 percent from three.
On a team looking for guys to step up, Kleiza could be that guy. He is a new man, having come back to the NBA full of confidence. Bargnani may or may not step up into the role of leader, but you can bet that Kleiza will step forward.
- Heat force a Finals Game 7 with thrilling overtime win over Spurs 2
- NBA Finals Game 6: Heat comeback in fourth, win in overtime to force Game 7 96
- PBT Extra: Talking Duncan, LeBron legacies; plus Game 6 11
- Report: Clippers pull out of talks with Celtics 30
- If Spurs win, it is LeBron’s legacy that will take biggest hit 83
- NBA Finals Game 6: Heat comeback in fourth, win in overtime to force Game 7 (96)
- If Spurs win, it is LeBron’s legacy that will take biggest hit (83)
- Lakers unlikely to sign and trade Dwight Howard to the Clippers, Rockets, or anyone else (81)
- LeBron James: “I just have to play better” (78)
- Heat’s Big Three dominate Game 4 to even the Finals at two games apiece (74)
- Heat force Game 7
- PST: On-fire Altidore lifts USA over Honduras in WCQ
- CSN: Patriots' Hernandez questioned in murder investigation
- CSN: Bruins' defense never rests in Game 3 win
- CSN: Celtics-Clippers KG, Rivers trade talks dead
- Lolo Jones' attempt at humor backfires
- PFT: Freed Johnson wants second chance in NFL
- Play Video: Bosh: 'We'll see who hits first'
- Play Video: PBT Extra: LeBron's legacy at stake, Duncan's safe
- Play Video: Clippers, Celtics discussions 'can't be wrong'
- Play Video: Elliot looks ahead to Game 6
- Play Video: The Hype: How much would you pay to punch someone?
- Play Video: If Heat lose, 'all hell will break loose'