And we’re back in business. The holiday weekend brought the first (almost) official NBA basketball of ’07-08, as the exhibition schedule tipped off across the water yesterday. The Europe Live opener saw the Celtics beat the Raptors in front of Andrea Bargnani‘s home crowd. Two of Boston’s Big Three looked good; Paul Pierce and his new baldie dropped 21 points and Kevin Garnett posted a 19-16 line, but Ray Allen was throwing up a lot of bricks … Garnett played like he was possessed. On one tip dunk he got so high he could have climbed into the rim … Boston’s X-factor this year, Rajon Rondo, didn’t look bad but didn’t look great either. He handed out 6 assists and made just one turnover, but his 2-for-7 shooting isn’t what the C’s need. And there was a couple times when Rondo over-dribbled and got caught in a trap. Still, consider this is the first preseason game of his second NBA season, played in a strange arena, and he was facing a good Toronto backcourt. We’ll cut Rajon a break for now … The Celtics starters played a lot of minutes for a preseason game — KG, Pierce and Ray each played 30-plus — but that makes sense considering they need to get used to playing with each other … On the other side, Jason Kapono looks like he’s been playing with the Raps for years. He stuck a couple jumpers and blended right in … The crowd was of course going nuts for Bargnani (13 pts). He made some early buckets and threatened to blow the roof off the place, but a couple fouls later, he was on the bench and the building was safe … Spike Lee was in the crowd. He’s shooting a movie in Italy … The Wolves beat Efes Pilsen of the Turkish pro league, but, real talk, Minny is gonna lose a lot of games this year. They’re just so young, they even carry themselves like a high school or college team … Who the Wolves will start this year has been a question we’ve gotten a lot. Yesterday it was Randy Foye, Rickey Buckets, Ryan Gomes, Al Jefferson and Mark Blount. However, we think Corey Brewer will crack that five before long and send Gomes to the bench … Pilsen had ex-Terp Drew Nicholas, who missed what would have been a game-tying corner trey at the buzzer. Nicholas put up 24 points before that, but he was jacking. He might have shot it 30 times. They also had former Kansas baller Kenny Gregory (a low-budget Vince Carter back in the day), ex-Michigan State forward Andre Hutson (kind of a beast against the Wolves) and none other than Mr. Loren Woods (not very beastly at all) … Minnesota plays the Celtics on Wednesday in London. Yesterday we came across another subtle shot at the Wolves organization by KG, who if you remember was slickly killing them in his Celtics introductory press conference. “It’s good to be around excellence. It’s cool,” KG said in yesterday’s Boston Globe. “The organization, everything so far has been first-class. In 13 years, this is the best camp I’ve been involved with by far.” Is Kevin McHale gonna be around for the potentially super-awkward exchange with KG before Wednesday’s game? … The worst fears about Monta Ellis‘ neck injury have been quelled, as Monta isn’t paralyzed (as some initially reported) and in fact left the hospital on his own not long after he was carted off the court at Warriors camp. He’s listed as day-to-day with a sprained neck, and will most likely sit out Golden State’s first few preseason games. If you hadn’t heard, Monta got hit going to the hole in practice and was laying prone on the floor for about 20 minutes … No one’s saying Luke Walton is the next A.C. Green in the iron-man department, but Phil Jackson took a cold shot at Luke in the L.A. Times: “We do know who the toilet-tissue paper players are,” Phil said after Luke missed a practice with a hamstring injury. “We make a note of that. Right now we’ve got a few of them.” The others? We’ll assume he means Chris Mihm, Kwame Brown and maybe Lamar Odom … The Sixers are having their training camp at Duke‘s Cameron Indoor Stadium. Which of course begs the question: Is Philly the best team on campus? … How’s the whole overgrown Knicks roster thing going? Isiah told reporters the other day that Fred Jones — assumed to be one of the guys fighting for a roster spot — is looking real good in camp. That’s bad news for Jared Jordan and Demetris Nichols. So is this line from Isiah: “We want the best player. We’re not looking at two, three years down the road.” Don’t rule out the Knicks looking back, though. The team just extended and open invite to Allan Houston to attend camp. So let’s say H20 takes them up on the offer and Fred Jones or one of the rookies outplays him. Would they really cut Allan Houston? Probably not … We’re out like Luke …
Smack / Oct 7, 2007 / 5:32 am
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