Of course the games don’t count in the standings, and not everybody is going all-out although they’re still getting paid (it’s like Tim Thomas‘ fantasy land), but one of the biggest misconceptions about the NBA preseason is the idea that you can’t learn anything from these exhibitions. If a guy can’t hit a shot in the preseason (e.g. Peja Stojakovic right now), it’s not like he’s going to automatically become more accurate when the games count. And if he’s busting the defense’s ass and making it look easy in the preseason (e.g. Kobe every year), it’s not like he’s going to suddenly turn into a scrub when it matters. Look at the Orlando Magic: They’ve been lighting it up in the preseason with a balanced offense where 6-7 guys are getting significant buckets every night, and guess what? That’s probably not gonna change next week when the regular season starts … Last night seven players cracked double digits in Orlando’s win at Chicago: Dwight Howard had 18 points (10-17 FT) and 10 boards, Ryan Anderson had 18 on four threes, Vince Carter scored 17, Jameer Nelson had 12, Mickael Piertus had 11, and Brandon Bass and Matt Barnes scored 10 apiece … And speaking of things that don’t change, J.J. Redick went 0-for-7 from the field in his 19 minutes off the bench. Serious question: Is this NBA thing ever going to work out for him? Would Redick fit on your favorite team? Is it just a matter of not getting enough PT or what? He was arguably the best shooter on any level not too long ago, but now with Ryan Anderson on the Magic, J.J. isn’t even the best American-born White shooter on his own team … John Salmons led Chicago with 19 points in the loss, and Kirk Hinrich had 18 and three steals. Derrick Rose continues to sit out with that right ankle injury … You know how Rasheed Wallace is one of the only players in the League that can get away with showing up to work looking like a crazy homeless man and nobody would think twice of it? Dwight is one of the only guys who can dance during timeouts and clown around all night and not have to answer questions about how seriously he takes the game … Buckets were also being passed around like club flyers in Houston, where the Rockets 20-pieced the Thunder. Chase Budinger led the way with 17 points and three triples, Trevor Ariza had 16 points and three steals, Carl Landry scored 15, Shane Battier went for 12 on three treys — even shot-blocking/hustle guy Pops Mensah-Bonsu cracked double figures with 13 points. Kevin Durant scored 20 for OKC … We featured the Thunder yesterday in our series of team-by-team season previews. Everything about this team says they’re going to be better this year. KD could lead the League in scoring, Russell Westbrook could make a big leap in his bid to sit in the same class photo with Chris Paul, Deron Williams, Tony Parker and Chauncey Billups in the West, and we can see James Harden having one of those underrated, overlooked rookie years like Eric Gordon that should get some R.O.Y. talk but probably won’t. Or the Thunder could just really stink again. What do you think? … Jeff Teague and Marvin Williams scored 16 apiece to lead the Hawks past the Wizards, while Al Horford added 14 points, six boards and two blocks. Gilbert Arenas (and Mike Miller) sat out with flu symptoms, so Randy Foye got the start at PG and finished with 19 points and six assists … Crazy play from that game: Mike Bibby was trapped outside the three-point line with Mike James all in his shirt, so he threw what looked like a way-too-high wild pass in the vicinity of the basket, apparently without really looking at what he was doing. Then Josh Smith fell out of the rafters and finished the alley-oop with one hand. Of course J-Smoove acted like it was nothing … We’re out like Redick …
Orlando shares the wealth; How good are the OKC Thunder?
TAGSAl HorfordCarl LandryCHASE BUDINGERCHAUNCEY BILLUPSChris PaulDERON WILLIAMSDERRICK ROSEDWIGHT HOWARDERIC GORDONGILBERT ARENASJ.J. RedickJAMEER NELSONJAMES HARDENJeff TeagueJohn SalmonsJOSH SMITHKEVIN DURANTKirk HinrichKOBE BRYANTMarvin WilliamsMike BibbyMIKE MILLERPeja StojakovicRANDY FOYERASHEED WALLACERUSSELL WESTBROOKryan andersonSHANE BATTIERSmackTIM THOMASTONY PARKERTrevor ArizaVINCE CARTER