In The Baseline, we take a look back at the action from the night before, and break it down. Check back every morning to see what you might have missed.
Oklahoma City Thunder at Fenerbahce Ulker-
The Thunder traveled to Istanbul to face off against FBU, and it was a close game. You could tell the Thunder were trying to find out where they were going to get offense from with Russell Westbrook out. Kevin Durant played well with 24 points and 8 rebounds in just 24 minutes. Serge Ibaka was the only other player in double figures with 15 points. Kendrick Perkins left the game early with a dislocated finger, but he should be fine moving forward. Fenerbahce had former NBA player Linas Kleiza, but he scored only 9 points. The final score was 95-82 in favor of the Thunder.
Chicago Bulls at Indiana Pacers-
The return of Derrick Rose was last night, after 18 months of waiting. Rose came out aggressive, and took 12 shots in 20 minutes. He made 5 of them for 13 points, but overall he seemed to have no limitations, and looked good. Luol Deng had 15, and Taj Gibson was the high man with 18 points. As for the Pacers, Danny Granger made his return. Granger came off the bench, and never looked comfortable. He went just 2 of 10, and his main highlight was a corner 3. The game was close through all 48 minutes, and in the 4th quarter Paul George fouled out. Not sure why Paul George was in there, but he fouled out nonetheless. George had 14 points, and it seemed as if they were running him off more off-ball screens, and he was pretty good. The Bulls took this one 82-76.
New Orleans Pelicans at Houston Rockets
Dwight Howard started for his third team in three years last night, when he donned his new Rockets jersey. Howard had more time in the post than expected, and he played very well, scoring 19 points and grabbing 9 rebounds. James Harden also added 21 points. Jeremy Lin played decently with 11 points and 4 assists, but his connection with Howard stuck out. As for the Pelicans, their worst nightmare came true. As their new acquisition Tyreke Evans drove down the lane, he came down awkwardly and had to be helped off the court. X-Rays were negative, but his status is unknown until after a MRI. Anthony Davis played well with 21 points, and after one of the worst rookie seasons of all-time, Austin Rivers looked a lot better, and scored 21 of his own. Jrue Holiday played underwhelmingly. Although he scored 13 points, he had 8 turnovers, and fouled out of the game. Patrick Beverly dominated him in the 4th quarter, as he stole the ball from him multiple times, and suffocated him. The game went down to the wire, but Omri Caspi missed the game tying 3 pointer, and the Rockets only got 2 points off of a tip-in. The Pelicans won 116-115, despite Houston controlling most of the game.
Golden State Warriors at Los Angeles Lakers-
This one was actually played in Ontario, California. Steve Nash and Pau Gasol sat this one out, so the Lakers started Steve Blake, Jodie Meeks, Nick Young, Jordan Hill, and Chris Kaman. That’s a little different than last year’s starting 5, but they were actually more effective. Playing in a much more up-tempo style, the Lakers actually controlled the game against the Warriors’ stars. Albeit preseason, it was still surprising to see them play so well. Nick Young was on fire, scoring 17 first half points on just 7 shots. The Lakers shared the ball, and they looked young and athletic. This team may surprise a lot of people. Chris Kaman looked good, scoring effectively, and ending up with 10 points and 10 rebounds. The Lakers should have pretty point guard play, as Steve Blake looked decent, and Jordan Farmar had 12 points and 7 assists. Oh yeah, and they have that Steve Nash guy. Xavier Henry doesn’t even have a guaranteed contract, but he did his part to make the team, as he dropped 29 points off the bench, including a 50 footer at the halftime buzzer. The Warriors didn’t look like themselves, as they only shot 40% from the field at halftime, and only 1 of 10 from beyond the arc. Andre Iguodala looked good though, and I assume they’ll be just fine. Klay Thompson had 26 points, Iguodala had 15, and Harrison Barnes and David Lee had 10 a piece. The Warriors were in the lead for most of the second half, but the Lakers came back and won 104-95.