The Warriors don’t expect anyone to simply run through them this year. Defensively, they plan on being playoff-worthy, and once Andrew Bogut gets back into the lineup, they should have the personnel to do it. We’re still in the preseason, so you have to take everything with a grain of “This doesn’t really matter,” but going into last night, Golden State had held opponents to 39 percent from the field (No. 1 in the league), and only 92 points a night (No. 6). They’ve actually been really good. Everyone just forgot to tell the Clippers, who dunked like 112 times in their 88-71 destruction (it was a lot worse than the final score) of the Bay Area boys. By halftime, the Clippers had 30 points in the paint, and DeAndre Jordan (18 points, 12 rebounds) had already gone out on about four or five dates with the rim. He feasted on the rim during the first quarter. Jordan had an appetizing wide-open dunk off a Blake Griffin look, another finish that quenched his hunger for no more than three minutes, and then later completed the meal with an incredible one-handed finish off a Chris Paul lob. Scary. Once he starts hitting turnaround jump hooks, like he did on the game’s opening possession, he might actually be worth all that money … In the third quarter, the Clippers blew it open before resting their regulars, with Golden State completely falling apart, even as we thought we heard Mark Jackson screaming on the sidelines, “Hand down, man down!” … Dallas staunched the floodgates with a 13-point win over the Hornets despite Anthony Davis gobbling up 17 rebounds. How’d he do it? Well, earlier in the day, we heard a report that Vince Carter was going to have to play some power forward for the depleted Mavs over the next few weeks. If you’re looking for solid defense and rebounding, we’d probably turn to just about anyone outside of VC, who’s scoring well so far in the preseason, but is spending even more time than usual hanging out around the three-point arc. Asking him to control the paint is like asking Mitt Romney to make some sense … After a weird landing in the first half, Austin Rivers had to be carried off the floor. ESPN’s Marc Stein eventually tweeted it was thankfully just a right ankle sprain, but it was on the same ankle he had surgery on this summer. With only 140 characters of space, Twitter can make any injury feel super serious. We’re glad Rivers, who only shot 2-for-14 from deep during the preseason, only has a jacked-up ankle and not like, an amputated leg or something … In other preseason action, Jared Dudley dropped 25 points as Phoenix beat the Kings, 103-88, while Portland got ahead by so much in their 120-114 win over Utah that they started experimenting with all-white lineups. Before that, they were led by Damian Lillard (21 points, eight dimes) and Nic Batum (27 points) … Yahoo! Sports reports Gilbert Arenas is close to signing a deal with the Guangdong Southern Tigers and joining T-Mac in China. Can someone make him keep another diary on NBA.com? … And we started our five-part series yesterday on the 20 best players at every NBA position. In hitting the point guards first, we answered a few important questions: How low would Derrick Rose fall because of his injury? Would Dime favorite John Wall make the top 10? And would we punish Linsanity for playing like Tierre Brown in the preseason? … Keep reading to hear about a cat who could be one of the East’s most improved players this year …
Taking control in the fourth quarter, the Raptors are now 5-1 in the preseason after a 104-95 win against Milwaukee in a completely empty arena in Toronto. They might go the whole year without winning five of six games that actually matter, but this preseason is still a silver lining for Canadian hoop fans. The Raptors will be better, showing last night they can protect the rim now. The Bucks shot 40 percent from the floor – in large part thanks to Brandon Jennings‘ 3-for-15 output, one of his customary “Brandon, stop shooting!” nights – and Toronto completely held down everyone outside of Ersan Ä°lyasova (19 points), Monta Ellis (26 points in the new Motorboat Jones IXs) and Mike Dunleavy (21 points… the rest of the team had 29 points) … On one possession in the second quarter, DeMar DeRozan (21 points) showed just how far (hopefully) he’s come. Isolated on an island against Ellis, DeRozan snuffed Ellis’ jump shot at the peak, took off downcourt, and then on a three-on-two fast break, took one dribble, stopped, pulled-up and canned a jumper. He looks so much more comfortable this season, and had a series of post moves on Beno Udrih that were gorgeous. Finally, after he’d skinned the tiny point guard enough, Milwaukee threw Dunleavy on him, and Straight Outta Compton went right around him with a baseline spin, drawing a foul in the process … At the end of the first quarter, John Lucas III hit a wild, double-pumping triple through a double team. It was a tremendous shot, but it was just a sniff of what the lil’ man provided for Toronto in the first half, taking his “Kobe Lucas” act to another level with consecutive three-point bombs and constant energy after Milwaukee had jumped out to an early lead. How did it take this guy so long out of college to find a spot in the league (first with Chicago, now with Toronto)? … Amir Johnson and Jose Calderon run one of the most underrated pick-n-rolls in the league. Johnson’s spent the entire preseason rolling to the rim and finishing on top of people’s heads, but in the second quarter of this one, he even stepped out and showed off some range. We’d say he’s ready to break out, but there’s some new Lithuanian cat who’s probably going to steal his minutes … Without Andrew “Frederick Douglass” Bynum, Philly still spoiled Carmelo Anthony‘s Syracuse homecoming, drubbing New York 98-90. They rode big nights from Thaddeus Young (22 points, eight rebounds, 10-for-12 from the floor) and Jason Richardson (23 points, seven rebounds, six assists, six triples), while ‘Melo forced up 23 shots for 23 points … And we dropped the 20 best trash talkers of all time yesterday. Take notes for the next YMCA open run … We’re out like all of Lance Armstrong‘s accomplishments.
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