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Last Night in the Preseason

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Fair warning, the format of this thing may change a few times as I figure out how I want to write it.  But for now, let's take  a look at some former or future D-Leaguers/European players who played well (and in some cases not so well) last night on a game-by-game basis.

Phoenix Suns 110, Portland 104

The only "our guy" who played in this game was Carlos Powell, and he did very well.  Starting and playing just over 22 minutes, Powell finished with 12 points on six shots, including 2-3 from long range, and three rebounds, along with zero turnovers and only one foul.  The main thing holding him back so far has been his attitude rather than his talent, so if he keeps this up (including the improved outside shooting) either the Suns or some other team will take notice.

Washington Wizards 109, Cleveland Cavaliers 104

Jawad Williams hasn't had the best preseason so far, but he had a solid game last night for Cleveland.  Getting the start in LeBron James's absence, Williams put up in 21 points on 12 shots, shot 4-6 on three-pointers and 5-7 on free throws, and grabbed five rebounds and passed out a pair of assists as well.  Hey Cleveland, if you're really serious about making sure you have bench scoring, keep this guy around.  The other standout of sorts for the Cavs was Andre Barrett, who outplayed his competition (Russell Robinson) by collecting eight assists in a little over 26 minutes and grabbing three rebounds, though he did need nine shots to score eight points.  Paul Davis played just under nine minutes in this game, and while Mike Prada from BulletsForever may have a soft spot for the guy, I just don't see it.  0-2 shooting, one rebound, one assist, one block and one turnover...what am I missing?  Luke Nevill, on the other hand, actually scored with four points in just under nine minutes, and he at least picked up three rebounds.  12-per-36 is a lot better than 4-per-36.

Boston Celtics 106, Toronto Raptors 90

Sonny Weems came back to earth a little bit, with 12 points on 10 shots and three turnovers, but he is banged up a little bit, and he's still getting a fair amount of playing time, which is encouraging.  Holly MacKenzie thinks the team will find a place for him, and quotes Chris Bosh as saying

"if we continue to work with him and get him polished, I think he'll really help us out."

The J.R. Giddens Rebounding Machine is still working, with four in 13 and a half minutes, though he's still having a hard time scoring the ball.  Lester Hudson wasn't, though, with 12 points on seven shots in the same amount of playing time as Giddens, and he picked up a pair of steals and a pair of rebounds as well.  If Boston could just put those two together they might have something.

Oklahoma City 96, Miami Heat 91

I'm only mentioning Carlos Arroyo because Erik Spoelstra decided to sit both John Lucas and Chris Quinn to see what the team's newest point guard candidate can do, and he responded with, well, zero points, three rebounds, two assists, a turnover and four fouls in 16 minutes.  Just stick with Lucas.  Both Shaun Livingston and Kyle Weaver struggled a little bit for the Thunder, combining for five points, all of which came at the free-throw line.  Weaver's calling card is his defense anyway, but he certainly hasn't been helping matters with his shooting so far.

LA Clippers 93, San Antonio Spurs 90

DeJuan Blair has been making Ian Mahinmi's job tougher by grabbing most of the rebounds in sight, but Mahinmi still managed to pull five down in 19 minutes, along with seven points on four shots and only one turnover.  Speaking of turnovers (you see what I did there), Marcus Williams has struggled with them so far this preseason (and to a certain extent in Austin last season), and he had three last night in 18 minutes, which spoiled an otherwise solid night, 11 points on 4-8 shooting, two rebounds and two assists.  Much better was Malik Hairston, who got the start and played 23 minutes, and finished with nine points on five shots, five assists and two steals.  The assists are a nice bonus from him, as he's a decent passer but not a prolific one.

Chicago Bulls 99, Minnesota Timberwolves 94

The story of this game is Chris Richard, who led all scorers with 17 points on nine shots, made seven of his nine free throws and added 13 rebounds and two blocks, both of which also were game highs.  Minnesota was the team that initially cut him, so there was probably some extra motivation (he's played pretty poorly so far), but maybe he can at least trick the Bulls into keeping him on, then show them that while he's not usually that spectacular, he's at least pretty solid.  Mark from Sham Sports and Chicago Bulls Confidential is still skeptical that'll happen, though.  Derrick Byars had a nice little game, with five points on three shots, three rebounds and a block in a little over 15 minutes.

Atlanta Hawks 111, Memphis Grizzlies 96

Like Jawad Williams and Chris Richard, Courtney Sims broke out last night after a rough preseason, scoring 12 points on 4-6 shooting in 13 minutes and blocking two shots.  He only had three rebounds and added two turnovers, but he was one of the more talented players in the D-League last season and several NBA teams are known admirers, so anything he can do to help his case at this point would, well, help.  Hamed Haddadi had three rebounds in six minutes, because that's what he does.  And not really anything else.