Oct 7, 2010, 2:35 PM EST
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.
- Dallas moves into title contender status with addition of Rajon Rondo 36
- Kevin Durant turns ankle, leaves game not to return; X-rays negative. 4
- Report: Celtics ‘pretty pleased’ with return they got in trade for Rajon Rondo 31
- PBT Extra: Jabari Parker’s injury, what does it mean for Bucks, Rookie of Year race? 4
- Reports: Celtics agree to trade Rajon Rondo to Dallas Mavericks 37
- Andrew Bogut undergoes PRP therapy on knee, out indefinitely 9
- Report: Mavericks trading for Rajon Rondo could happen ‘sooner rather than later’ 10
- Carmelo Anthony introduces his latest signature shoe, the Jordan Melo M11 10