Wrapping up 10/15's preseason action
Golden State 107, Zalgiris Kaunas 88: While Craig Sager works his magic in Colorado, DCSS was wearing its yellow, green, and red. Stephen Jackson and Baron Davis play about 20 minutes each, and both just toy around with the Lithuanian squad. Jackson ended up with 20 points, and Davis ended up with 11 points, 7 assists, and 6 rebounds. Rookie Marco Belinelli played all 48 minutes, and after starting off very passively (driving and passing the ball out to the top of the key instead of trying to finish, passing up open shots, etc.), only began to show confidence in his shot after Don Nelson called a play for him following a timeout. After starting off shooting 1/6 from the field, Belinelli finished by shooting 6/11, picking up 19 points on the night. The rookie has a very crisp shooting stroke, and squares up coming off a screen very well, but don't ask the guy to handle the ball. Overall, is he a decent rookie with potential to be a consistent scorer? Sure. Will he be replacing Jason Richardson's all-around excellent offense? Not a chance.
Memphis 101, Minnesota 93: Marko Jaric scores 17 (whenever I see or hear anything about Jaric, I only think of a classic moment captured by Embedded Reporter Elie Seckbach, when Jaric cracks up after overhearing Elie tell Chris Kaman what Shaq thinks about him: "I've never been to the Kaman (sic) Islands.") and Kevin McHale opens up a bottle of Cristal to congratulate himself for witnessing a great game by the man he considers the basketball messiah, Al Jefferson. Jefferson finishes with 17 and 15, but the Wolves still fall to the Grizzlies, who play Rudy Gay, Pau Gasol, and Mike Miller on regular season minutes. But it was actually Juan-Carlos Navarro who was the offensive spark, as he puts up 22 points in 23 minutes.
Charlotte 96, New Jersey 86: Jason Kidd lasts three pre-season games before sustaining an injury in practice on Sunday, and now he's nursing his balky back just like last year. Even without their court leader, the Nets maintain a 9 point lead through the third quarter. However, a mass substitution of RJ, VC, and Malik Allen triggers a 29-7 Bobcats run, giving Charlotte fans the impression that they too can beat NBA subs. Gerald Wallace finishes with 20, and VC ends up with 13 in 22 minutes.
Indiana 117, New Orleans 104: Chris Paul finally works his way up to 9 assists, but the Pacers use contributions from everywhere to net a high-powered win. All members of the starting lineup are in double-figures for Indiana, and Ike Diogu adds 19 of his own. Troy Murphy takes Larry Bird's comment about "being mean and nasty like he was back in College" to heart, and puts up 16/9 in 20 minutes-- before fouling out.
Phoenix 124, Utah 101: The Suns don't even look back after taking a 16-14 lead in the first quarter, as they dominate a game that has only six lead changes. Steve Nash scores 12 points and dishes 7 assists in 24 minutes, and the only starter who doesn't end up in double-figures is Boris Diaw -- who has a sick stat line of 6 points, 9 assists, and 11 rebounds. All Jazz starters finish in double-figures, but Paul Millsap leads his team with 16 points.