The second game of the NBA preseason, Bulls vs. Pacers, kind of flew under the radar for a few reasons: Nobody cared as much because it wasn’t the debut for the League or the replacement refs, it was on a Friday night when people had better things to do, and the most notable “new face, new place” involved was Bulls’ first-round pick James Johnson — only the most generic (at least in name) first-round pick in this year’s rookie class. Johnson was terrible, by the way, going 1-for-6 from the field and fouling out in 20 minutes … Derrick Rose had 17 points and three assists in Chicago’s win, while John Salmons and Luol Deng (3-10 FG, 9-9 FT) scored 15 apiece. The Bulls’ other first-round pick, USC’s Taj Gibson, outshined his fellow rookie, putting up 19 points and nine boards … On the Pacers’ side, Danny Granger was dropping buckets like he didn’t just take the summer off, scoring 27 points on 7-of-13 from the field and 11-of-12 from the line. Luther Head added 14 and Brandon Rush had 13 points … Was there a holiday we didn’t know about yesterday? Because it seemed like every White dude involved in this game sat it out: Kirk Hinrich, Brad Miller and Aaron Gray logged DNP’s for the Bulls, while Troy Murphy, Tyler Hansbrough, Travis Diener and Mike Dunleavy Jr. were out for Indiana. Miller was listed as having “minor aches,” which is NBA injury-report language for “You’re an old man.” … Josh McRoberts did suit up, and he pulled off the highlight of the night on a full-extension tomahawk dunk in transition. McRoberts has great athleticism and decent size for a power forward, and last year it looked like some of Murphy’s game was rubbing off on him. Do you think he’ll ever put it together and realize the potential he had coming out of high school as one of the three or four best players in the country? … T.J. Ford was not good, racking up seven turnovers next to three assists. Still, Ford’s job isn’t in danger now that Jarrett Jack is out of the picture, and he really doesn’t have to worry after rookie backup A.J. Price went 0-for-7 from the field (0-for-4 on threes) coming off the bench … Tyrus Thomas (9 pts, 3 stls) left the game in the third quarter with a concussion … As you’ve no doubt heard by now, the 2016 Summer Olympics were awarded to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. From a basketball angle, host country star Leandro Barbosa will be 33 when these Olympics came around; it could be a nice capper on his career, which we’d imagine will be either winding down or perhaps already done as an NBA player by then. (Barbosa’s game and style are totally reliant on his speed, which will start to go away in his 30′s.) Anderson Varejao will also be 33 by then, but he might still be getting overpaid by the Cavs at that point. And maybe by 2016, Tiago Splitter will have come to the NBA … If you know anyting about Brazil, you know there’s another subplot to think about when it comes to Team USA. Long story short, just keep an eye out for a wave of NBA players pulling out of consideration for the 2016 U.S. roster for unexplained reasons, or in other words, because their wives told them “Hell no” … Fresh off enacting new rules governing when players can stand up and when they can use their cell phones, Principal David Stern introduced some good rules yesterday: (1) allowing instant replay to be used at any point during a game to help determine 24-second clock violations, and (2) in the last two minutes of regulation or overtime, replay can be used to determine which player last touched the ball on out-of-bounds disputes. Not that this will stop anybody from using the instinct that has them point in their team’s direction no matter who touched the ball … Forgive Wizards fans if they hear the words “Gilbert Arenas,” “injury,” and “whole year” together and throw up in their mouths a little. Flip Saunders admitted Arenas’ latest issue, a dislocated finger, could bother him all year, but likely won’t cause him to miss any games. No big deal. Kobe has been playing with four fingers on his right hand for the last year and half, and he’s fine … Not that you were clamoring to watch the Grizzlies or the Wolves this season, but if you do, you might notice some style changes. Kurt Rambis has Minnesota learning the triangle offense, which he says will still feature Al Jefferson as the focal point, but its complicated nature may also hold Jonny Flynn back until the rookie picks it up. In Memphis, they’re planning to run. A lot. Lionel Hollins said he wants O.J. Mayo, Rudy Gay and Allen Iverson to push it as much as possible — and no, we don’t think Hollins is forgetting he has Zach Randolph on his team. “It’s wide open, and that’s how I want to play,” Iverson said after a recent practice … Courtney Lee has a sore foot that will keep him out of New Jersey’s preseason opener tomorrow. Hopefully this doesn’t linger and put Lee in jeopardy for the big Oct. 30 matchup with the Magic. Lee has been crying about being traded so much this summer, he’s liable to drop 40 on Orlando when he sees them next … We’re out like Tiago …
Smack / Oct 3, 2009 / 6:45 am
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