By Holly MacKenzie
Okay, some recaps from the action last night. It was good to see the Suns flourish. Could it be that amidst all of this Laker turmoil I am finding comfort in the uptempo, fun style of the Suns? I think so. Say what you will, I am a Lakergirl for life, but damn this off-season has been tough. Actually things have been tough since, well never mind. I am wondering what the rules are in preseason regarding number of guys allowed in the game? Yes, I should know this but I don’t and it is too late to be googling the info right now. I find it funny that Utah had 14 guys getting playing time tonight, while D’Antoni still only played 11 and his team was up by 35 in a preseason game. I’m all for developing team chemistry but come on Mike you are killing me. Please don’t let this be an indicator of how the season is going to roll. Give the garbage guys some time!
On another note, if anyone saw the Suns/Jazz game or even just the highlights, who was DJ Strawberry’s flagrant foul on? One more thing, looking at the breakdown of NBA salaries within each team is one way to make a girl crazy.
Charlotte Bobcats 96 New Jersey Nets 86
In Charlotte, the Bobcats defeated the Nets 96-86 after rallying back from a 14-point deficit in the first half. Led by Gerald Wallace and his 20 points along with 2nd year Adam Morrison and 14 points off the bench, the Bobcats outscored the Nets 39-15 in the 3rd quarter to turn the game around. Rookie Jermareo Davidson had a great game for Charlotte netting 14 points on 5-6 shooting from the floor as well as going 4-4 from the free throw line. The Bobcats were without center Primoz Brezec, who was in street clothes and should be available for games this weekend as well as newly acquired guard Jason Richardson, who took the game off to be with his family after the birth of his son. Rookie Jared Dudley was out with a sprained toe. Bostjan Nachbar had 19 points, tops for New Jersey. Vince Carter had 13 points in a 22 minute preseason debut, while Richard Jefferson had 11. Jason Kidd and Darrell Armstrong did not play for the Nets while Marcus Williams is out after having surgery on a broken foot and Nenad Krstic is still working on rehabbing his surgically repaired knee.
Indiana Pacers 117 New Orleans 104
The Hornets marked their return to New Orleans with a loss. Indiana exploded for a 117-104 win over the Hornets as 2nd year player Ike Diogu had 19 points and a perfect night from the floor to go along with it. Diogu was 7-7 from the floor and 5-5 from the free throw line in only 24 minutes of play. Troy Murphy was also on his way to having a nice game scoring 14 points and grabbing 9 boards before fouling out in the 3rd quarter. New Orleans shot 54 free throws as a team as compared to 38 for Indiana. Danny Granger and Jermaine O’Neal both added 13 points for the Pacers while Mike Dunleavy Jr. and Jamaal Tinsley each had 10. For New Orleans, the bright spot was rookie Adam Haluska a 2nd round pick for the Hornets. Haluska scored 22 points, nailed three 3-pointers, and upped his preseason average to 16.0 ppg. Chris Paul passed for 9 assists with only 1 turnover in his 20 minutes and newly signed Morris Peterson went for 11 points. David West finished with 14 points and Tyson Chandler rounded things out with 10. New Orleans fans will be watching Peja Stojakovic to see how his next game turns out, after playing only 4 minutes in this contest due to stiffness in his back.
Memphis Grizzlies 101 Minnesota 93
After being down by 16 points in the first half, Marc Iavaroni’s Grizzlies fought back in the 4th quarter with a 15-0 run to snatch the lead from Minnesota and escape with the win. In the 4th quarter Memphis outscored the Timberwolves 30-18 while Minnesota was unable to weather a 6-minute scoring drought. The combo of Juan Carlos Navarro and Rudy Gay proved positive for Memphis as each finished with 22 points. Gay also finished with a game high 5 blocked shots to go along with 9 boards. Mike Miller added 14 points and Darko Milicic scored 10. Al Jefferson had a great game for Minnesota scoring 17 points and grabbing 15 boards. Marko Jaric had 17 points while Rashad McCants added 15. Corey Brewer, Minnesota’s 7th pick in the draft, had 9 points in 26 minutes of action. Memphis shot 33 free throws compared to Minnesota’s 19. Guard Sebastian Telfair was out for Minnesota with an ankle sprain.
Phoenix Suns 124 Utah Jazz 101
Phoenix is wasting no time in reminding everyone which team has the best offense in the league. Shooting a blistering 53.2% from the floor, 61.5% from the 3-point line and 91.7% from the free throw line the Suns burned the Jazz 124-101. The scoring attack was very balanced for the Suns with Leandro Barbosa dropping 20 (or 28 depending on which sports report you read, but the box score has him in at 20) points and Raja Bell, scoring 24 points on 8-10 field goals, including going 5-6 from downtown in 24 minutes of action. Shawn Marion chipped in 16 points and 8 boards. Newcomer Grant Hill continued to adjust to his new team and up-tempo offense, playing 21 minutes and finishing with 14 points. Steve Nash scored 12 points and dished 7 assists in his 24 minutes. Rookie guard DJ Strawberry managed to wrangle 20 minutes out of Coach D’Antoni while only scoring 5 points. Fellow rookie Alando Tucker also had 5 points, his coming in only 8 minutes off the bench. Boris Diaw had a game high 40 minutes and finished with 6 points, 6 assists and 11 rebounds for Phoenix, playing in place of the injured Amare Stoudemire. For Utah, 2nd year forward Paul Millsap was tops, going for 16 points and 7 rebounds. Ronnie Brewer added 15 and Andrei Kirilenko had 11 points, 9 boards and 3 blocks in 24 minutes of action. In his preseason debut for the Jazz, Carlos Boozer finished with 10 points in a 13-minute effort. At one point in the 3rd quarter the Suns led by as many as 35 points.