Pops Mensah-Bonsu had a huge game off the bench for the Rockets, with 17 points on 8-9 shooting, seven rebounds and five blocks in 23 and a half minutes. It's probably not just optimism that makes me say that Mensah-Bonsu has a solid shot at becoming Houston's backup center this year, as the only other two guys who can play the position are Luis Scola, who's really more of a power forward, and David Andersen, who's talented but also new to the system and to the NBA (he fouled out in 22 and a half minutes). M-B's a bit undersized to play in the middle, true, but that matters less in Houston than with any other team. The lack of a consistent offensive game is what's held Mensah-Bonsu in the past, and one game certainly isn't evidence that it's suddenly shown up, but I do like his chances. Sonny Weems wasn't great for Toronto, scoring 11 points on nine shots, but he was bothered by his foot a little bit and also picked up three rebounds and a steal.
Ime Udoka hasn't played much this preseason, but he had a pretty good game last night with five points on three shots, eight rebounds, four assists and two steals in 19 and a half minutes. Utah's former D-Leaguers were more of a mixed bag (which makes sense, since there were, well, more of them). On one side there was Kosta Koufos who made his only shot, grabbed two rebounds and had a block, and while his per-minute numbers aren't great (he played just nine, and eight rebounds-per-36 is okay but not fantastic), both rebounds were on the offensive end, so that's nice. On the other side is Kyrylo Fesenko, who picked up four fouls and turned the ball over three times in his 11 minutes of action, though he did also have a pair of blocks.
The Heat were in control for almost the entire game, and surprise surprise New Orleans' lack of any real bench scoring was one reason why. Rookie Marcus Thornton should help, but I remain puzzled as to why a team with such a smart, capable GM hasn't brought in any cheap help in over the last year. The team reported has liked Courtney Sims in the past, for instance, and he could've helped them out in both the scoring and big man departments. Maybe there are some stories I'm not privy to, or maybe they just don't consider the D-League, and bring in guys like Luke Nevill and Earl Barron and Larry Owens instead. If all of this seems off-topic it's because no one this website cares about played much. The aforementioned Barron played a little over four minutes and had two points and zero rebounds. John Lucas played two and a half minutes and scored four points on 1-1 shooting and going 2-2 from the free throw line, but once again Carlos Arroyo got the big backup PG minutes. Wheeeeeee.
Nate Jawai played a little under eight minutes in this one, and the result was, well, Jawai-y. Two points, two assists, zero rebounds, two turnovers, two fouls. Maybe Dallas wasn't crazy for bringing Jake Voskuhl in after all (four minutes, two points, three rebounds, a steal and a block).
Shannon Brown seems to have firmed up his place in the NBA the last few years, but I'll include him here to "cover" this game. He didn't play particularly well, shooting 2-7 and finishing with six points and three fouls in 17 minutes, though he also grabbed four rebounds. It also sounds like he'll get some significant minutes this year, as he'll have spent more time in the Triangle, and the team has forwards who can run it (like Luke Walton) while hecontinues to get up to speed.