On the day that Chicago’s most famous face took center stage in the presidential election, the Bulls beat down the undefeated Magic, 99-93. Over the final five minutes, the Bulls closed the door with some ferocious interior defense, forcing guys like Big Baby into impossible shots, and on the other end, Joakim Noah (20 points, nine boards, five blocks) and Taj Gibson (playing over Carlos Boozer to end the game) provided some offensive highlights. Luol Deng led everyone in white with 23, and Nate Robinson came off the bench, didn’t play out of control, and made a couple of big shots down the stretch. The whole Robinson-Tom Thibodeau marriage still confuses us. That has to be the most unlikely partnership in the entire league. Robinson plays professionally like we do on the Xbox, and Thibs is one of the most no-nonsense, defense-first coaches you’ll find at any level. Perhaps that’s exactly why it’s worked out? … Serious Orlando question: which cat has been more surprising this year: Big Baby (16 points, 10 boards, 7-for-22 shooting last night) or J.J. Redick (10 points, seven assists)? We knew coming in that Arron Afflalo (28 points) was going to earn more fans outside of just Kendrick Lamar. But besides him, Redick has long been an underrated all-around player. He’s not just a shooter. He can play a little defense as well, yet the only time anyone ever noticed was when he matched up with Jesus in the 2009 Playoffs. Also, Davis is near the top of the entire league in usage rate, and he’s pumping in points at record levels for someone who can’t jump and has T-Rex arms. Both struggled last night – Davis against Chicago’s length, Redick because he kept forcing quick shots – but they’re two of the biggest surprises in the league this year, right up there with Wilson Chandler still owning a counterfeit game from China … Denver had no real problems with the Pistons, winning 109-97 as JaVale McGee (16 points) provided the second-half highlights. The Nuggets were rocking their new secondary jerseys, and they are so nice even Andre Miller looks hip in them. Those joints helped offset Detroit’s mess. Halfway through the first quarter, Denver was already leaking out on 3-on-0 fast breaks as everyone in a Detroit uniform stood around wondering where they’d be getting dinner from. Seriously if you get blown out by basically 30 one night, and then come out the next night and immediately fall behind by 10, you’re mailing it in. It’s just that simple. But hey, at least Rodney Stuckey (5-for-17, an improvement for him) made a few shots for the first time this season … For the second-straight game, it was left to the bench to provide a little life. We challenge anyone to watch a full Pistons game this year and not catch at least one Will Bynum/Andre Drummond lob. We have no idea how they built that chemistry but luckily for anyone watching Detroit, it’s happening night after night … And the NBA handed out their first two flopping warnings this year to J.J. Barea and Donald Sloan. Barea’s long been regarded as one of the most original floppers out there, deciphering all different sorts of ways to draw a foul. But the flop in question from Sloan was way beyond anything Minnesota’s point guard developed. He looked like a figure skater … Keep reading to hear which coach could come back to coach the Lakers …
It took less than a quarter for Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook (19 points, eight assists) to assert their dominance in a convincing 20-point win against Toronto. Durant was crossing people over early, drawing defenders, kicking to open teammates (hint: Thabo Sefolosha) and smashing all over unsuspecting Lithuanian rookies throughout the first quarter, while Westbrook dissected the Raptors once they lost their leader … Towards the end of the second quarter, Kyle Lowry stepped on Serge Ibaka‘s foot and went down screaming. It’s always difficult to judge the severity of a rolled ankle – sometimes they feel like a shark just took a bite out of your ligaments, you can’t move, and then 15 minutes later, you’re back playing. Lowry barely made it off the floor, and pretty quickly found out he would not be returning. If he isn’t able to come back soon, the Raptors are in trouble. And forget the season because Toronto was gonna suck anyway – without Lowry, they lose a significant portion of their “cool” points. Immediately after he limped off, we could almost hear half of the League Pass audience switch channels. Without Lowry, the only reason to watch Toronto is for DeMar DeRozan‘s sneakers (last night he was rocking some sick Air Jordan XIIIs in white, black and red) … At one point at the end of the first quarter, the cameras caught a verbal exchange between Andrea Bargnani and Hasheem Thabeet that must’ve included at least a dozen F-bombs. Amazingly, no one moved to break it up, probably because no one was worried either one of them would take it past words. Imagine those two throwing down? Take the gangliest fist fight you’ve ever seen, and add like a foot of awkwardness to it … One league source is reportedly predicting Jerry Sloan will be coaching the Lakers by the 1st of December. Wouldn’t that be fun? The man couldn’t handle Deron Williams and now he’s going to take care of Pau Gasol (who has confidence problems), Metta World Peace (odds on the two of them throwing down if this happens?) Kobe Bryant (who’s too confident) and Dwight Howard (who enjoys acting like a child, but loves being treated like royalty). Maybe Mike Brown isn’t the guy for the job (you can’t really say that after four games anyway) but we doubt Sloan is either … Steve Blake was fined $25,000 for using explicit language against a fan during last Friday night’s loss to the Clippers. Blake has always been a little wild – remember when he tried to slug a teammate at Maryland? – but the dude picked the son of Steve Jackson to go at. Yes, Steve Jackson the shoe mogul, the chairman of L.A. Gear and a huge longtime Lakers supporter. When he’s not missing wide open shots or getting into scuffles, Steve Blake spends his time cussing out his biggest fans … And on the day of the polls, President Obama made sure to get in some run. That’s become a superstition for him after he didn’t do it on the day of the 2008 primary election in New Hampshire and then went out and lost to Hillary Clinton. Scottie Pippen came through for the run too … We’re out like Mitt Romney.
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