Hedo Turkoglu has been too sick to play, or even practice this past last week. Stomach virus. We’ve all had those, a nasty bug that just knocks you off your feet and doesn’t let you exercise, work, do anything really…
But you still can go hit clubs up at night.
Well, my stomach viruses were never like that. But apparently Turkoglu’s was. Which is why he was dressed but on the bench Sunday. Well enough to play, finally, but disciplined by the team, according to the Globe and Mail.
The benching came in the wake of reports that Turkoglu was out in Toronto’s trendy Yorkville district after the Raptors’ crushing loss to the Denver Nuggets on Friday night, a game he didn’t play because of a stomach virus that caused him to leave at halftime of the Raptors loss’ to the Utah Jazz last Wednesday.
When pressed, Raptors president (Raptors general manager) Bryan Colangelo said that word of Turkoglu’s night out had reached the team – apparently fans had spotted him and sent e-mails to team officials and some media – and the matter had been dealt with “internally,” the implication being that the Turkish small forward had been fined.
The best part is the apparent disdain Turkoglu later expresses for both the fans and management in Toronto. As if they are the problem.
Turkoglu — and his massive contract — have been at the heart of the problem in Toronto, where the team is coming off the rails at the end of the season. He’s never been a great defender and Toronto is just horrible at that end of the floor. On offense he is supposed to be the outside to Chris Bosh inside, but right now teams are throwing hard doubles at Bosh and daring any other Raptor to beat them. And nobody is stepping up for Toronto. Including the well-paid Turkoglu.
But you know, it’s that stomach virus.
Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker is just 20 years old. He’s a League Pass favorite, and indeed he should be a favorite in Phoenix for years to come. On Friday, Booker dropped 70 points — yes, 70 — in a loss to the Boston Celtics.
Booker’s 70 points is the best outing of the season. It also made him the youngest player to ever reach 70 points.
His final stat line, as you might imagine, was ridiculous. Booker shot 21-of-40 from the field, going 4-of-11 on 3-pointers and a whopping 24-of-26 from the free-throw line. The Suns phenom also grabbed eight rebounds to go with six assists.
Despite the loss to Boston, 130-120, it’s still an incredible milestone for Phoenix and for Booker. There’s a bright spot out there for the Suns.
Aaron Gordon may not have had the best dunk contest this year — apparently drones and dunks don’t mix well — but the guy can still get up and finish with the best in the league.
As he did on this alley-oop against Detroit.
Elfrid Payton had to throw a lob that would get over Andre Drummond, but how many guys in the league can get that high, reach back and finish that? Damn.
Former Atlanta Hawk Pero Antic is now playing for Turkish powerhouse Fenerbahce, in case you were not aware.
Fenerbahce was facing Anadolu Efes in a EuroLeague game, it was tight late and former NBA player Ekpe Udoh was at the free throw line for Fenerbahce. He missed his second shot, but the rebound caromed out-of-bounds off an Anadolu Efes player. Antic was pumped.
Maybe a little too pumped.
That was Nikola Kalinic, by the way, the guy Antic now owes dinner to. Kalinic would like the dinner more than the hug and kiss he got from Antic right after the play.
Also, Anadolu Efes held on to win 80-77.
(Hat tip to Ball Don’t Lie.)
The Lakers had been shopping Lou Williams around in the run-up to the trade deadline, the only question was would they get a first-round pick for him. Rumors around the league say that Houston had offered them one weeks before, it was on the table, but the Jim Buss/Mitch Kupchak front office held their cards close and hoped a better deal would come through.
While all that was going on James Harden decided to ease the process and did a little recruiting calling up Williams, the sixth-man guard told Shams Charania of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports.
“When James called, he asked me if I was interested in playing with them,” Williams told The Vertical. “I told him that I loved the Lakers, but James and them have a group that fit my personality, fit how I play. He said he was going to make it happen.”
Williams then laughed, sitting on the edge of a visiting court following a recent practice. “I’ve heard that before, so I didn’t really put stock into it,” Williams told The Vertical. “I guess James did put the word in, and the team made it happen.”
We all know what happened, Jeanie Buss removed her brother and Kupchak a few days before the trade deadline, Magic Johnston stepped in, called around, and quickly pulled the trigger on a trade that sent Williams to Houston (the Lakers also got Corey Brewer). Williams has averaged 14.5 points per game and had some strong performances with the Rockets, although he’s still finding his groove with the team on the court. Still, he’s been an upgrade for the Rockets’ bench.
Harden knew he would be, so he did his part to make sure it happened.