Monthly Archives: October 2010

What I Saw: the Orlando Machine and stupid techs

I’m sat here watching the Washington-Orlando match-up, and here’s what I’m seeing:

Washington 83, Orlando 112: Orlando are an extremely good basketball team. Right from the outset, they took the Wizards out of anything they wanted to do offensively. They doubled early on Andray Blatche (in order to either make him pass, or as was the case, make him take very bad shots) and sagged off John Wall in order to stop penetration and make him shoot jumpers.

On the flipside of their phenomenal defence, their offence was clicking, where they were getting to the rim with ease early on. VC had it going early, first off driving and then making a couple of 3s. Rashard Lewis was also aggressive at getting to the rim rather than settling for the 3-pointer.

Although, as much as Orlando was aggressive at going to the rim, it was a product of Washington’s poor D. With Hinrich guarding Nelson early, it was up to Wall to stop VC, and he got lost a bit defensively. Wall will be a good defender in time, but not in his debut as a pro. Lewis was just quicker than Blatche early, and JaVale McGee missed a couple of rotations early on the screen-roll.

The Wizards best was probably Cartier Martin, he came off the bench and didn’t try to do too much, he shot it when he was open and passed if he wasn’t, he led them with 17 points. Also played some good D and had a nice block on Dwight.

Obviously any time you win the season-opener by 29 you’re pretty happy, but especially holding Washington to just 37% shooting while shooting 56% themselves is positive. Additionally, the Magic doubled the Wizards up on the boards 53-25; however they did turn the ball over 20+ times. Dwight was effective with 23 points, 10 boards and 3 blocks, although he shot just 9-19 from the foul line.

Phoenix 110, Utah 94: Utah look really out-of-sync at the moment. Their offence just isn’t flowing. Not only does the offence look disjointed, but they seem to be playing with a lack of energy that they just cannot afford. Seeing as how they’re missing depth with Memo Okur still out, the guys that are available need to play with urgency. Deron Williams needs to step up and score the basketball, and Al Jefferson needs to get comfortable with his new teammates.

On the defensive end, they just need to play hard. While none of the Jazz, save for Raja Bell, are particularly good individual defenders, they just need to stick with their guys and trust Coach Sloan’s defensive schemes. Rotate, help each other and close out on the 3-point shooters. Just as they’re playing flat on the offensive end, the same goes for the D. Hopefully they can pull it all together fairly soon.

Good win for Phoenix, though. They’re a very unconventional team, they have a lot of good shooters/scorers, and there’ll be nights when the shots fall. Led by Steve Nash’s 18, they had 6 guys reach double figures and had Hakim Warrick come off the bench for a nice 18/11 double-double, including some Amar’e-esque finished on the pick-n-roll with Nash. They were patient in the half-court, working the ball around to find the open man and not really rushing any attempts.

On defence, they played hard and forced quite a few turnovers. The biggest thing though was probably hanging with the Jazz on the boards, with the Suns grabbing 44 to Utah’s 45, much more respectable than the 30-48 drubbing from Portland.

The other thing that really bothers me is the technical rule. D-Will got whistled for a delay-of-game tech, he had a huge jam down the lane when the Jazz were making a run, and he hit at the ball on the way down. I just don’t like it one little bit. I want to see these guys get excited. It was a huge play, and he’d been struggling all game, so to be penalised for such and insignificant action just annoys me. He’d already been hit with a technical earlier in the game, but thankfully the second tech didn’t result in an ejection. We just need common sense to prevail and realise that these are humans. They get excited, annoyed, frustrated just like the rest of us. Let us see that! Don’t whistle the guys for every little thing. The emotion is what makes the game great. Hopefully we see the rule relaxed very soon.

That’ll do it from me for now, cheers.

 

What I Saw, where we had a massive night of hoops

As promised, here’s what happened in today’s 13 games:

Detroit 98, New Jersey 101: Nice way to start the season for the new-look Nets, opening with a win over the Pistons. Brook Lopez contributed 25 and 9, and as I mentioned here, here, and here, this is what to expect from him all season long. He may even end this season as the league’s Most Improved. The rookie Favors had a pretty solid debut with 8 points and 10 rebounds. For Detroit, Charlie-V was good, getting 14 points and hitting 4-9 3s. Ben Gordon was decent too.

New York 98, Toronto 93: Good win for the Knicks going away, with Amar’e getting 19/10 in his debut (although he narrowly avoided a dubious triple-double with 9 turnovers). Wilson Chandler was solid off the bench with 22 points and 8 rebounds on 10-18 shooting. The second-rounder Landry Fields got the start, somewhat surprisingly, at the 2 and contributed 11, hitting 3-6 triples. Not too much went right for the Raptors, Jarrett Jack played well; he got to the rim and finished with 16.

Miami 97, Philadelphia 87: The Heat got their first win of the season, with Wade leading the way with 30 (10-20, 1-2, 9-12) and LeBron adding 16/6/7. James Jones was feeling it, with 20 points, 6-9 from 3-land. LeBron is struggling with turnovers at the moment, 9 tonight after racking up 8 in his Heat debut. Evan Turner had a promising debut for Philly, with 16 points, 7 boards and 4 assists for the number 2 overall pick.

Boston 87, Cleveland 95: Well, that was a surprise. J.J. Hickson led the Cavs to victory over the Celtics, with 21 points and 6 rebounds on 8-11 from the field and 5-6 at the line. Anderson Varejao grabbed 10 boards and Boobie Gibson was pretty good with 16 points and 8 assists. Rajon Rondo was his usual self for Boston, with 18 points and 9 assists. KG grabbed 15 rebounds but the Celtics only hit 3-12 3s, with Ray going 0-5.

Chicago 95, Oklahoma City 106: Thunder basketball is in real solid hands with Durant and Westbrook leading the way, it would seem, with the pair combining for 58 in Oklahoma City’s season opening victory. Durant struggled from the field, hitting just 9-24 attempts, but got to the line for 11-13 free throws. Westbrook had no struggles however, with his 28 coming off 8-15 from the floor and 12-13 from the stripe. He added 10 rebounds and 6 assists along with a stupid-ridiculous end-to-end slam early on. Derrick Rose got 28 points for the Bulls, although he did take 31 shots, making 12. Noah had added 18 points and 19 rebounds, while Taj Gibson had 16/11 filling on for the injured Carlos Boozer.

Sacramento 117, Minnesota 116: Tough win for the Kings to start the season, getting the victory despite missing Tyreke Evans. Carl Landry led them with 22 points and 11 rebounds, while DeMarcus Cousins was solid in his league debut with 14/8/5 and 2 blocks. The Wolves were led by Ridnour, 20 points on 8-13, 2-2, 2-2, while Beasley scored 17 points and grabbed 7 boards.

Atlanta 119, Memphis 104: The Hawks were all over this one, shooting 52% from the floor and 50% from distance for the easy win. JJ had 22 points and 7 assist with Bibby adding 19 points on a remarkably efficient 7-9 from the floor (4-4 from deep). Zaza Pachulia had a double-double off the bench, with 17/11 on 5-7 from the field and 7-7 at the line. For the Grizz, they lost Zach Randolph after he fell hard on his back early in the game. It’s being called a lower back contusion, and it’s not real good news for the Grizz as Randolph was starting at center in place of the injured Marc Gasol. There were positives, however, with Darrell Arthur getting the start and contributing a (apparent) career-high with 19 points. Memphis’ new max-guy Rudy Gay added a double-double with 21 points and 10 rebounds, while Conley’s solid preseason form continued with 23 points and 8 assists.

Milwaukee 91, New Orleans 95: Chris Paul. 17 points, 16 assists. David West added 22 points and the Hornets come away with a season-opening victory. Ariza shot just 4-13 in his Hornets debut, including 1-6 from the great beyond. Brandon Jennings countered CP with a 15/10 double-double of his own, while Bogut was very good in his return from that unfortunate arm injury, contributing 15 points and 15 boards along with a block. However, he did shoot just 3-10 from the foul line. Drew Gooden added a double-double of his own with 15/11 while another new Buck Corey Maggette had 16 points.

Indiana 109, San Antonio 122: Tim Duncan can still ball, 23 points, 12 boards, 3 assists, 3 steals and 4 blocks on 10-12 from the field and 3-5 from the stripe – a pretty nice way to start the season. Manu and TP added 22 and 20, respectively, with the Spurs shooting 45% from deep and assisting on 29 of 42 made field goals. Roy Hibbert was the standout for the Pacers, with 28/9/3 to go with 3 blocks, while Danny Granger scored 26 and hit 3-6 from downtown.

Charlotte 86, Dallas 101: Dallas takes this one easy-like, shooting 55% from the floor while holding Charlotte to just 40%. Dirk was simply brilliant, 28 points and 13 rebound on 11-13, 6-6, while Kidd threw 18 assists to go along with his 12 points. Jet Terry helped with the scoring adding 22 points. The bright spot for the Bobcats would be Tyrus Thomas, 22 points and 6 boards off the bench.

Utah 88, Denver 110: Big win for the Nuggets, with ‘Melo scoring 23, Arron Afflalo adding 22 on 8-11, 3-5, 3-3 and Sheldon Williams grabbing 16 rebounds. Deron Williams led the way for the Jazz with 17 points and 6 assists, but Utah shot just 39% and committed 22 turnovers.

Portland 98, LA Clippers 88: Portland grabbed their second victory of the young season, despite shooting just 41%. Brandon Roy had 22 points and 10 rebounds while LMA also had a double-double with 19/10. The Blazers out-rebounded LA 51-41, despite Blake Griffin getting 14 boards for the Clips. Speaking of Griffin, the young fella finally making his rookie debut was superb, adding 20 points on 8-14 shooting, 4-6 from the line. EG added 22 for the Clippers.

Houston 128, Golden State 132: The final game of the night, and Monta Ellis was just ridiculous, pouring in 46 points on 18-24, 1-2 and 9-12 shooting. That’s not all though, as Steph Curry had himself a double-double with 25 points and 11 assists and David Lee had an excellent Warriors debut with 17 points, 15 boards and 6 assists. GSW shot 55%, which is crazy for an opening game. For the Rockets, Luis Scola was beasting, 36 points and 16 rebounds in this game, with Kevin Martin adding 28 points including 17-17 from the foul line. However, Houston shot ‘only’ 47%.

As for yesterday’s games, I was able to see the Miami-Boston and Houston-LA Lakers match-ups, while I only saw highlights of Phoenix-Portland. First off, Miami looked pretty terrible, and you can read about it here, here or here if you wanted to know more. Houston was pretty impressive, and probably should have won it on the back of Scola’s 18/16 and Martin’s 26. However, the Lakers came roaring back in the final period and Shannon Brown’s 16 points, including 4-5 triples, came out of nowhere. Gasol was really good with 29/11 and Kobe was Kobe. In the Phoenix-Portland game, the Blazers absolutely demolished the Suns on the glass with a 48-30 advantage, while assisting on 31 of their 43 made field goals. Nic Batum was probably the standout for the Blazers, with 19 points and 11 boards, while Steve Nash had 26 points and 6 assists for the Suns.

Well, I think that’s about it. It’s been a massive day of hoops and this has been an equally enormous post, so cheers for sticking with me. Two games tomorrow, Washington at Orlando and Phoenix at Utah, both games are on ONEHD. Awesome.

I’m out peeps.

 

My predictions

Hey all.

I probably should have posted this a couple of days ago, but here are my predictions for the 2010-2011 NBA season:

Coach of the Year: Lionel Hollins

Most Improved Player: even as I look at today’s boxscores and say ‘maybe I should have picked Terrence Williams, maybe J.J. Hickson…’ I’ll stick with my initial pick of Kevin Love. Still, it’s one of the hardest awards to predict.

Sixth Man: Wes Matthews

Defensive Player of the Year: Dwight Howard

Rookie of the Year: I know he’s having a great game today, but he was great all preseason so it’s no surprise – Blake Griffin.

MVP: Kevin Durant.

Stay tuned for a write-up of today’s 13-game schedule, and my thoughts about the games yesterday.

 

What does preseason really mean?

With the regular season only 5 days away, and the preseason coming to a close, there has been quite a bit of chatter about how important the preseason actually is. Statistically, the preseason is actually a fairly indicative of how certain teams may perform once the games mean something.

First of all, Sekou Smith, of NBA.com’s Hang Time Blog, posted that Minnesota and Memphis fans have reason for optimism, while New Orleans and Atlanta fans perhaps shouldn’t be hoping for big things this season. He linked to this article by NBA.com numbers guru John Schuhmann, with this being the sticking point:

In the past five seasons, 10 teams have gone through the preseason either undefeated or with just one loss. All 10 have made the playoffs. In the same time, seven teams have won just one game — or haven’t won any — in the preseason. Only one of the seven, the 2007-08 Cavs, made it to the playoffs.

Since the Hang Time post, JS has updated his article, from 2009, with a 2010 version looking at various trends from the current preseason. But once again, the key point:

In the past six seasons (2004-05 through 2009-10), 11 teams have gone through the preseason either undefeated or with just one loss. All 11 have made the playoffs. In the same time, eight teams have won just one game – or haven’t won any – in the preseason. Only one of the eight, the 2007-08 Cavs, made it to the playoffs.

So, I thought, which teams from the current preseason should think they’ll make the playoffs, and which teams should be thinking about the lottery. Here’s what I found:

Orlando 7-0

Utah 7-0

Memphis 6-0

Boston 7-1

Cleveland 6-1

 

New Orleans 1-7

L.A. Clippers 1-7

Orlando, Utah and Boston are no surprise. Each of these teams would be expecting to contend. Cleveland is a real surprise, and while it would seem like they will make the playoffs based on that record, most expect them to deal Jamison and Mo-Will and start a proper rebuild, and that may impact on their ability to play in the postseason. Still, the East is pretty open at that 8th spot, so you never know. It’s really hard to know what this means for Memphis, though. You’d think they’d be maybe (a BIG maybe, but the talent’s there) top-4 if they played in the East, but they play out West. It’s really hard to see any teams dropping out to accommodate Memphis (Denver, perhaps?) Still, the Grizzlies should really like their chances of finally making it to the playoffs.

On the other hand, the Clippers won’t make the playoffs, they rarely do, but they do have reason to be very hopeful that the postseason isn’t too far away. With youngsters Griffin, Gordon and Al-Farouq to build around, the Clippers should get better in the not-too-distant future. Unfortunately, it won’t be this season. For the Hornets, their record would be a bit more troubling for team personnel and fans alike. It’s already been reported that CP has gotten pretty disgruntled about the talent (or lack of) surrounding him, although he says otherwise. Still, the young fella wants the best chance to win and seeing the Miami super trio is probably leaving him longing a bit at the moment. The Hornets as presently constructed won’t make playoffs though.

That’s what I think; I’d like to know what others think about it. Cheers.

 

What I’ve seen, since last week

Here’s some of the things that have happened over the past week of the preseason, that I think are worth taking a look at:

Orlando Magic: The Magic men are absolutely rolling in preseason, sporting a 5-0 record and winning games by an average of 24.2 points. They defeated Charlotte despite starting 5 bench guys, handled the Hornets by 54 and smashed the Bulls earlier today by 38. They look very good and very deep at this point.

J.J. Hickson: Hickson is taking full advantage of his opportunity in preseason, averaging 16 points and 9.2 rebounds in just over 24 minutes per game (that’s 24/14 per 36 minutes, by the way). The LeBron-less Cavaliers have scrapped their way to 4 wins in 5 tries this preseason, and have relied on contributions from many different guys, but Hickson has been consistently good. Let’s see if he can deliver when the games count.

Utah Jazz: Like the Magic, the Jazz are also undefeated in preseason action, with a 5-0 record to this point. There has not been one guy that has been ridiculously hot for them; rather, they are using ball movement and offensive execution in order to win. Al Jefferson has been going well, too, after scoring just 6 points in his first Utah game, he knocked in 24 points in his 4th time out.

Nate Robinson: Little Nate is absolutely dominating for the Cs in preseason, averaging 16.7 points while attempting 7.8 free throws per game. His shot hasn’t always been falling, but at least he has been aggressive attacking the rim. He’ll be important for the Celtics this year, as they’re not getting any younger and generally save their best ball for the post-season. Nate should get plenty of burn early in the season.

Atlanta Hawks: Atlanta has struggled so far, dropping their first 3 preseason game before defeating the Hornets earlier today. They have been shooting the ball pretty well, topping 50% from the field in a couple of their games, but the big killer has been free-throw percentage. Not once have the Hawks been able to shoot greater than 70% from the line. They’ll need to work on making more freebies once the regular season rolls around.

Chicago youngsters: Both Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah have been playing really well for the Bulls, with Rose displaying the quickness and athleticism that had everybody calling him the next great point guard, while Noah is justifying his big extension, averaging 12.8 points, 10.8 rebounds and 4.8 assists before today’s stinker against Orlando (1 points, 2 boards, 1 assist). He almost got a triple-double against the Raptors with 16/14/8, however.

Minnesota: Those young Wolves are looking pretty good in preseason, using solid contributions from different guys to pile up a 4-1 record. Beasley and Love look good playing next to one another at the forward spots, with Minnesota seemingly optimistic that Beasley can be a long-time solution at the small forward spot. Love continues to rebound the ball just like he always has (11.2 per game) and it can only help Beasley to play next to an elite rebounder. Martell Webster has continued to be a superb bench performer for Minny, averaging 14 points per game.

Blake Griffin: The young fella has been spectacular in preseason, averaging 17.3 points and 12.3 rebounds per game. He’s also displayed the phenomenal athleticism that made him the no-brainer top draft pick in 2009. Here’s hoping Blake can stay injury free and continue to dunk everything this season, and compete for Rookie of the Year.

DeMarcus Cousins: One of the guys, along with college team-mate John Wall, which should compete with Griffin for ROY. He’s averaging 16.4 points and 9.6 rebounds thus far, and will probably start in the middle for the Kings this season after they learned that Samuel Dalembert will miss 4-6 weeks with a groin strain.

Brook Lopez: I have been super impressed with Lopez in the preseason, where he’s averaging 22.4 points per game. No-one should dismiss this as a preseason performance, as Brook will be right around that for the entire regular season. He’s looked much quicker than guys such as Shaq and Yao, and displayed a nice array of post moves, including a nifty up-and-under he used to bamboozle Yao during the China series.

Austin Daye: He’s been averaging 15.8 points per game so far, and looks like he may be able to take on a bigger role, especially after Jerebko ruptured his Achilles’ tendon and will miss a chunk of the year. Daye’s versatile and this will be a big advantage for a Pistons team trying to find minutes for guys at both the wings and the forward spots. Hopefully he can find a nice role and contribute.

Carmelo Anthony: Despite all the rumours, ‘Melo is still a Nugget, and he’s been playing rather well. He’s averaging 24.3 points and 14.3 free throw attempts per game. Further, he filled up the stat sheet in Denver’s victory over the Clippers, with 30 points, 14 rebounds and 9 assists while going 17-19 from the free-throw line. With these performances in preseason, Nuggs fans will probably be getting even more anxious for him to stay in the Mile-High city.

After today, there’s just 6 more days left for the exhibition schedule, with the real thing starting 3 days later. That’s right, fans – just 9 more days until the 2010-11 NBA season begins. Awesome.

What I Saw, where we had a game outside

With half-a-dozen games played today, here’s what’s what:

Philadelphia 89, New Jersey 90: Yeah, Brook Lopez scored 23. Y’all should be expecting that. Farmar was also pretty decent, scoring 15 off the bench on 5-9, 3-6, and 2-2. Terrence Williams was awful, no points (0-3) while having just 3 assists against 5 turnovers. For Philly, Evan Turner played a nice game in a starting role – 14 points, 6 rebounds, 7 assists and 6 steals – fans would be hoping for those numbers for a long time to come. Iguodala scored 20 while playing at the 3, the 6ers actually started Holiday, Turner, Iguodala, Young and Brand, which would figure to be a fairly effective line-up (able to force turnovers and get out in transition). Holiday, Turner and Iguodala are all fantastic perimeter defenders so maybe they’ll stick with it.

Indiana 92, Houston 126: Houston were on the break, like, all game, with Budinger and Lee dunking everything. Those two combined for 27 off the bench on 12-19, 2-6, 1-2 shooting, playing 20 minutes apiece. Scola was his usual fantastic self with 23/11. Not really too much going on for Indy, A.J. Price played well again with 14 points on 7 shots.

Memphis 97, New Orleans 90: The Grizz started a couple of the younger guys, with Thabeet and Henry getting the start while O.J. and Gasol came off the bench. Rudy went 0-7, which is no good. Luckily Randolph came through with 21 points on 6-9 from the floor and 9-12 from the stripe. For the Hornets, Ariza was nice in his N’Awlins debut, 17 points on 5-8, 3-3 and 4-4 shooting. The Hornets shot pretty well from distance in their preseason opener, 11-19 triples for 58%.

Charlotte 78, Milwaukee 86: Brandon Jennings had another really good game, scoring 18. Milwaukee shared the ball ‘round again, with 5 guys scoring double-digits; the Bucks assisted on over half of their made field goals. There’s not too much positive for Charlotte right now, they’ve slumped to 0-3 in the preseason; Gerald Wallace did his thing with 15 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists and 4 blocks.

Miami 73, San Antonio 90: Oh my, the Heat lost. How awful. LeBron and Bosh played just 12 minutes each. San Antonio played a lot of guys and did enough to get the W. Timmy played only 7 minutes.

Dallas 90, Phoenix 98: Both teams shot just 39.5%, but the game was played outside (Indian Wells) so we’ll excuse that. Steve Nash had some really nice passes in the game and finished with 10 assists. Channing Frye scored 12, but it took him 13 shots to get there (2-10 from range, ugh). Dirk sat out for Dallas, and no-one really played exceptionally in his absence. Caron Butler needed 16 shots for his 12 points.

Cheers peeps.

And the preseason rolls on

Hey all, here’s what I saw today:

Orlando 93, Indiana 86: Vince Carter was pretty damn good, scoring 25 on 8-11, 6-8 and 3-3 shooting, in just 19 minutes. But it’s early, so we’ll give it a while before makes up for his dreadful playoff performance last season. Also, Mike Dunleavy would probably struggle to guard a fence post at this point. Dwight, however, wasn’t good, scoring just 10 points on 2-8 from the floor and 6-14 from the stripe. It seems Roy Hibbert plays him rather well (with Hibbert going for 26/8 against Dwight in an Indiana victory back in January). Ryan Anderson grabbed 16 boards off the bench for Orlando, which is nice. For Indy, Collison was solid with 18 points and A.J. Price scored 15 off the bench. It’s really great to see Price back after he injured his knee in a charity pickup game back in May. Initial reports suggested he may have been out for up to six months, putting his return as far away as December. However, he’s out there with a brace and attacking the rim, which is awesome.

Milwaukee 110, Detroit 115 OT: Austin Daye was excellent in this game, hitting jumpers and generally showing real improvement from last year, his rookie campaign. Detroit’s bench got a lot of minutes in this one, with DaJuan Summers and Ben Gordon getting 15 and 19, respectively. Despite losing quality depth in White and Jerebko the Pistons still have enough quality guys to make a run at a playoff spot (I have them sneaking into the 8th seed). For Milwaukee, Brandon Jennings was a stud, making plays and tossing in 18 points. The Bucks shared the ball in this one, with 7 guys getting into double-digits. The rook Larry Sanders didn’t shoot real well (5-17, 12 points), but he was active enough to get 9 boards and block 5 shots. Milwaukee are counting on his energy to help out Bogut down low during the season.

Washington 96, Chicago 107: Derrick Rose is quick, and very talented. He did a lot for the Bulls in this game, scoring 18 points to go with 5 assists. There was a lot of work done off the pick-and-roll, with Rose either splitting through the D for the layup or finding the bigs rolling to the bucket. Kyle Korver continues to be hot in the preseason, scoring 17 on the night. For the Wiz, Gilbert was actually very effective, getting 16 points while nailing 4 3s. John Wall was solid but not spectacular, 11/6 for the rookie.

Oklahoma City 96, Miami 103: LeBron had 22/7/8, Bosh had 23 (10-15 from the floor, 3-6 from the line), and Haslem was his usual terrific self with 17/9 on just 4 made field goals – 4-6 from the floor while going 9-9 at the line. For the Thunder, Durant got 21 and Westbrook was decent with 18/4/6 with 5-11, 1-1 and 7-7 shooting. Jeff Green struggled after his hot start to the preseason (he scored 25 in Oklahoma’s preseason opener), getting just 4 points on 1-11 shooting. Ugh.

Portland 99, Denver 109: Well, the Nuggets still have ‘Melo, and he contributed 24 on 7-12, 3-4, 7-8 shooting in only 24 minutes of action, which helps. Sheldon Williams also played well, with a surprisingly monstrous 21/14 on 7-10 from the floor and 7-10 from the line. For the Blazers, Dante Cunningham continued his solid preseason, with 15/10 along with 4 steals in a starting role. The Blazers need all the solid guys they can get, as they tend to got unlucky with injuries.

L.A. Clippers 87, Golden State 127: The stellar backcourt duo of Stephen Curry and Monta Ellis was superb in this game, combining for 40 points on 14-18, 7-7 and 5-5 shooting, with 10 assists, 5 boards and 4 steals between them. The Warriors shot 56% from the floor and 67% from distance which is just ridiculous for a preseason opener. For the Clips, they’d have to be happy with just how good Blake Griffin looked, but downright appalled with everything else. Losing by 40’s never good, even in preseason.

Finally, some injury news. Al Harrington came up limping after grabbing a steal in Denver’s game, it appears he injured his left foot and he’s listed as day-to-day; injuries strike Portland yet again, this time with promising young big Jeff Pendergraph having surgery to repair a torn ACL in his right knee. His return this season is doubtful. Lastly, the Nets are saying off-season acquisition Troy Murphy will be out indefinitely with a lower back strain. The Nets were planning on starting Murphy at power forward, allowing them more time to develop 3rd overall pick Derrick Favors. However, all reports on Favors suggest he’s looking very good early on and New Jersey might find themselves starting him sooner than they’d planned.

That’s all from me, until next time.

 

More games, more observations

I’m back, NBA freaks!

So there were a bunch of games again today, so I’ll just dive in and talk about what I saw:

Memphis 115, Atlanta 111 OT: So, Memphis seem like they could have a really good team this year. They seem to have around 10 guys who can legitimately give you good minutes, especially if Acie Law keeps playing the way he did today – 19 points, 4-7, 1-1, 10-10. He’d fit in nicely as the backup point guard behind Conley. Conley, Mayo, Gay, Randolph and Gasol with Law, Henry, Allen, Young and Thabeet off the bench; you’d need a bit of mix-and-matching with the starters seeing as how it’s a bit undersized, but that’s a bench that is athletic and would be monstrous defensively. The Hawks gave up a 20-point lead in this one, but to shoot over 50% in your first preseason outing is pretty impressive.

Boston 96, New Jersey 92: Shrek and Donkey played well of the bench for the Cs in this one, with Davis scoring 20 and Nate 17. Boston are a vet squad and are ready for a run at the title again this season, so they’re bound to win a few preseason games despite the starters getting plenty of rest. For New Jersey, Brook Lopez gives you the 23 points you should all be expecting (he looked about 17.6 speeds faster than Shaq on this night); and Terrence Williams continues to look really good. 17/4/5, however he had 5 turnovers.

Washington 97, Cleveland 83: Wall struggled with his shot in this one, but still nearly got a double-double with 12 points and 9 assists, along with a +20 for the game. The Wizards’ young bigs Blatche and Jianlian played really well, with Andray throwing down a ridiculous dunk and Yi getting 16 points on 7-11, 1-1, 1-1 shooting. Yi looks like he may have benefited from the Worlds tournament; he appears to be far more confident at the moment. For the Cavs…ahh…I guess Hollins was pretty good, he was active, getting a massive block and pulling in 14 rebounds. But Cleveland was pretty bad, shooting 35%.

San Antonio 87, Houston 90: Yao looked better in this game. Kevin Martin still finds ways to get to the line, shooting 9-11 free throws for his 21. The Spurs played a whole bunch of guys, with 15 players seeing court time. Tony Parker looked really good in limited action.

Chicago 83, Dallas 88: Dirk was…Dirk. 30/10 on 9-21, 1-3 and 11-13 shooting. Has that off-season surfer hair goin’ on. Caron Butler also contributed 22. I can’t really figure out how Chicago was close, looking at both the boxscore and the highlights. The only thing I noticed about them was that Derrick Rose is pretty damn quick. Jo Noah (13/8/6) played well.

Portland 96, Utah 100: Portland’s bench got a heavy run in this one, with 4 guys getting more than 22 minutes off the pine. Wes Matthews continues to look incredibly good, with 21 points (6-15, 2-4, 7-10 shooting), but Dante Cunningham was probably the best of the bench, getting 18/10 on 8-12, and 2-2 from the line. He was pretty patchy in his rookie year but these are the sort of numbers he could contribute on the reg. LaMarcus Aldridge was also quite effective with 15. The Jazz, however, just moved the ball within their fantastic offensive system and put 13 guys on the scoreboard. 12 of those guys recorded at least one assist. Gotta love that Jazz ball movement.

L.A. Clippers 120, Sacramento 88: Blake Griffin is still a beast (in case you’ve forgotten). 18 points along with 13 rebounds, and the only reason he didn’t get 20 was free throws (7-7 from the floor, 4-8 at the charity stripe). Also, Al-Farouq Aminu had a mini coming-out party in this one, with 17/8 on 6-13, 2-3 and 3-4. He was skying for put-backs and showing exceptional passing skills. Along with Eric Gordon, could Clippers fans finally have a young core to get excited about? For Sacramento, not much to say…Tyreke played just 9 minutes. DMC fouled out in just 21 minutes of burn but still scored 15 and is still clearly a special player.

Some news before I go. The Detroit Pistons still can’t catch a break, after struggling with injuries last season; they recently found out that rookie sensation Jonas Jerebko partially tore his right Achilles’ tendon, and incoming draftee Terrico White broke his right foot. Both injuries occurred in their first preseason outing. This is terrible news for the Pistons, as they’ll miss Jerebko’s energy and White’s athleticism, as well as the depth these two give them. For a team trying to forget last year’s nightmare campaign, this is just bad luck.

I’m out guys. Cheers.

 

Preseason hoops

It may only be preseason, but damn it’s exciting!

8 games today, each result was fairly predictable. The teams that should have won did, and the teams that used anything resembling a regular season rotation defeated those who gave 12 guys a run. There were a few things we can take away from the games though, remembering that preseason observations are not terribly indicative:

Charlotte 72, Cleveland 87: The first Cavs game post-LeBron went pretty well, I think. Ramon Sessions looked good attacking the rim, and the bench featuring J.J. Hickson played well too. Neither team shot the ball effectively but the Cavs did a good job grabbing rebounds, getting a couple of second-chance baskets. For the Bobcats, I’d have to figure not a lot went right. The one positive was seeing D.J. Augustin playing really well, he struggled last year in his sophomore campaign and it would really help his confidence if he put in some strong preseason games and won the starting job. Other than that, yeah…my man Al pretty much summed it up when he said Charlotte’s best was the 3-10 from the field, 5-12 from the line performance of Tyrus Thomas. Yeah.

New Jersey 103, Philadelphia 96: The Nets should improve quite a bit this season, despite missing on a megastar in free-agency. It’s also hard to go anywhere but up after winning just 12 games. Anyhow, they were good on this day, with Brook Lopez getting 24/7, numbers you can pretty much expect all season. Terrence Williams was also much better this game, getting 20 points, 9 assists and 4 rebounds. For the Sixers, I think the positive is Evan Turner. Despite his continuing struggles from the field (1-6), he did get to the line to finish with 10-12 free throws for 12 points overall. When a young man knows his shot’s not falling and tries getting to the line instead, this is a good sign.

Detroit 89, Miami 105: There’ll be a recap of this game everywhere so I’ll be quick. Wade tweaked his hamstring early and played just 3 minutes. Bosh had 20 and LeBron 18. Haslem was good as always with 14/13. They’ll probably win a lot.

Chicago 83, Milwaukee 92: The Bulls were without Boozer, the Bucks were missing Bogut. Not really too much to take away from this one.

Orlando 97, Houston 88: Again, Al summed it up pretty well: ‘I’m worried after seeing them. It looked like everyone was taking three steps while Yao took one. He looked really old’. To be fair, we agreed, the Dwight-on-Yao match-up isn’t favourable for Houston to begin with, especially when Yao’s working back from injury. We shall see.

Washington 97, Dallas 94: John Wall is quick. Like, ridiculously quick. In the first quarter, Wall got the outlet after Yi blocked a shot and tracked down the ball, and he got from baseline to baseline for the lay-up in 4 seconds. 4 seconds. He drove through 3 Mavericks like they were standing still. I have a feeling it’s going to be very special to see this young man make his way in the league. The other thing I took out of this game was that Washington cannot be planning on starting Wall, Arenas and Hinrich together…you’re not going to win much starting three point guards (well, David Kahn may disagree)…

Phoenix 95, Sacramento 109: There has to be three legitimate contenders for rookie of the year, right? Griffin, Wall and Cousins? Because DeMarcus was a beast in this game, scoring 16 points to go along with his 16 rebounds. Tyreke Evans was also very good, and Kings fans have to be really excited to have these two as the foundation (as long as the team remains in Sacramento). I also thought Carl Landry was very good in this game, he was playing at the high post and dishing to the cutters. From what I saw his passing looked excellent. Not much to talk about for the Suns. Robin Lopez could probably grab a few more rebounds.

L.A. Clippers 86, Portland 115: Portland are a very good ball team. I’m also happy that I wrote that Wes Matthews might not have such a bad deal, because it looks like Wes Matthews might not have such a bad deal. He was very good in the Blazers training camp and had 20 today on 4-9, 3-8 and 9-10 (he loves that corner 3!). But the Blazers are just so talented, LaMarcus had a monster put-back, Batum had a big dunk and they generally walked all over the Clippers. You’d have to think they’d be able to do some serious contending-business if they could stay healthy.

That’ll do it for now.

5 more games of pre-season hoops tomorrow, which is awesome. Stay tuned.

It’s back! (well, sort of…)

Hey everyone, it’s been a while.

So, there was some full-on proper basketball today! Well, sort of, with the New Yorks kicking off their preseason exhibition schedule against Armani Jeans Milan. As you would expect, the Knicks came away with the win 125-113. Amar’e Stoudemire scored 32 points, with Danilo Gallinari adding 24, Wilson Chandler 17 and Anthony Randolph 16 points. Here’s my thoughts after seeing the brief highlights:

– Although he’s not going to be mistaken for Steve Nash anytime soon, Raymond Felton did a good job hooking up with A’mare on the pick-and-roll and the pick-and-pop. Amar’e even nailed a three off of a Felton dish at one point.

– Gallo may take too many threes, but when you are able to shoot so effortlessly from such a distance, it’s hard to criticise him for it sometimes.

– I have really high hopes for Anthony Randolph in New York, he is one of my favourite players and I feel like his potential is just ridiculous. He was in a bad situation in Golden State and was jerked around by Nellie quite a bit. The way I see it, he has every opportunity to thrive in D’Antoni’s up-tempo system (I mean, he can get from one end of the court to the other in, like, 3 steps). If the play of the day is anything to go by, AR’s going to be fine.

The other game was the New Jersey Nets defeating Maccabi Haifa 108-70. They were led by the rook Derrick Favors, who scored 14 along with newcomer Anthony Morrow. Devin Harris added 12 and Brook Lopez 11. I’m not sure how Terrence Williams played, I believe he shot rather poorly but he did lead the team in assists which is a positive. I’m looking for the young fella to do big things this season.

There was some news today, concerning the Chicago Bulls. The bad? Marquee free-agent signing Carlos Boozer has a broken hand and is expected to miss two months. This is obviously a major setback in the Bulls’ quest to crash the Miami 3-party, but fortunately they have capable second-year forward Taj Gibson to fill in while Booze makes his way back. The good news for the Bulls? Hyper-energetic center Joakim Noah has agreed to a 5-year contract extension, believed to be worth $11 million per season.

That’s all for now, stay tuned for more preseason action.